It would be a massive understatement to say most NFL kickers wished they could have the opening week of the 2020 season back.
Kickers can say whatever they want about moving on from bad misses — just ask Scott Norwood — but it stings when one errant try costs a team a game. Several Week 1 games were decided, either in the final seconds or the long-haul, by poor field-goal kicking.
How bad was the kicking in Week 1? Collective efforts from the Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans, and other teams doomed kickers to a feat not seen in nearly 40 years.
NFL kickers had an ugly Week 1 performance
Whether it was the lack of preseason games or just a bad weekend remains to be determined.
The bottom line, though, is Week 1 featured some of the worst kicking in recent NFL history.
Fifteen different NFL kickers missed at least one kick. That included Rams rookie Samuel Sloman, whose 29-yard attempt against the Cowboys, hit the left upright.
Former All-Pro kicker Stephen Gostkowski, now with the Titans, missed two field goals, had another blocked, and even missed an extra point.
Bengals kicker Randy Bullock sealed Joe Burrow’s first career loss when he missed a 31-yard field goal with two seconds left against the Chargers.
Not all was bad in the kicking department
When Week 1 ended with Derrick Henry and the Titans defeating Denver on Monday Night Football, 13 of the league’s 32 kickers had perfect field goal and extra-point percentages.
Another three kickers made all of their field goals, but missed an extra point. Ravens icon Justin Tucker drilled a 41-yard field goal and all five extra points in Baltimore’s rout of Baker Mayfield and the Browns.
Saints star Will Lutz successfully hit both field-goal tries and four extra-points. Cairo Santos gave Bears fans something to smile about by hitting both field goals, neither longer than 35 yards, and three extra points.
Although Stephen Gostkowski had the terrible Week 1 against Denver, he also drilled the game-winning kick in the final minute.
Other kickers didn’t survive the week
The Cleveland Browns already made a kicking change, cutting Austin Seibert — who missed his lone field goal try and an extra point — after their Week 1 loss to Baltimore.
Former Bears kicker Cody Parkey, best known for missing a kick in the 2019 NFC wild-card round, is Seibert’s replacement.
Seibert joined the rival Bengals, who could be without Randy Bullock. The Bengals listed Bullock as limited in practice with injuries to his calves.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers protected ex-Titans kicker Greg Joseph, who remains on their practice squad. Joseph was expected to start for the Titans if they hadn’t signed Gostkowski on Sept. 3.
NFL kickers had their worst Week 1 since 1982
How bad were NFL kickers in Week 1? Any stat one looks at tells the full story.
According to the Associated Press, the 19 missed field goals were the most missed since 1982, when kickers missed 20.
Ironically, that season ended with Redskins kicker Mark Moseley winning NFL MVP — and he had a perfect Week 1.
NFL kickers only made 71.6% of their tries in Week 1, the lowest opening week performance since 1998. That marked Peyton Manning’s rookie season and ended with John Elway and the Broncos winning a Super Bowl.