Sunday’s win by the Houston Texans against the Tennessee Titans by a 30-24 overtime score should have never went that far, but due to the inability of kicker Randy Bullock on Sunday, the game went longer than expected.
Bullock, in the first two games of the season, had the highest of highs in the season opener with the game-winning field goal from 41 yards away at San Diego, but last week, the kicker was 0-for-3.
For the first two games, Bullock is 1-for-5 for a conversion percentage of just 20 percent. He is 6-for-6 in extra points, but he’s 0-for-3 from 50 yards plus and 1-for-2 from 40-49 yards away.
We also must remember this is Bullock’s first real season in the NFL as he missed all of his rookie year with a season-ending injury, so he does get some leeway there, but his job is to make more than just extra points, and not many people keep their job if they have a 20-percent success rate.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak spoke about Bullock this week.
“We talked about it a lot,” Kubiak said during a Monday press conference. “There’s disappointment because obviously we think he’s a heck of a kicker. He’s got plenty of leg. Of the four misses, three of them are 50 yards. So it’s not like I’m giving him chip shots. I’m sure he’d be much happier if he got to kick some 30- and 35-yarders. We take that into consideration.
“But he’s got to make that kick to end the game (Sunday). That’s his job. But there are three people involved in that: the snap, the hold and the kick. And we’ve all got to take responsibility and get better and they will. We’ve got confidence in Randy. We’ll see if we can get him a little bit closer. But we expect him to step up and be strong here and work through this and do a good job for us.”
I agree with Kubiak on this … it is a little too early in Bullock’s career to part ways with him, but he’s really got to make the longer kicks to stay in the NFL.
Kubiak also said during his press conference, “We’re going young with him, and we’re going to stand behind him. Like I said, he’s got a job to do. He’s responsible for his job. But we’re going to give him a lot of help. His teammates are going to support him. I’m going to support him, and we’ve got to get him going in the right direction here.”
That is true as well … he’s a young kicker, and no kicker is perfect. I don’t know if that feeling will be the same following this Sunday if Bullock continues to miss field goal attempts, no matter the distance … as a kicker, younger old, like Kubiak said, he has a job to do.
Giving the kicker a vote of confidence may relieve some of the pressure on Bullock, and Kubiak even said Mr. McNair spoke to Bullock about the current situation, so if he has the backing of the owner as well, that has to make the mental aspect of this current situation a little better.
I don’t see Bullock missing this many kicks in a game again, but if he does, there could be a problem for Bullock in Houston. For now they should stick with Bullock … but if the problems continue for a couple more weeks, there are plenty of kickers waiting by the phone.