There was a time not too long ago — three weeks to be exact — that Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely was in Bruce Arians’ proverbial doghouse.
The 37-year-old was shaky in the preseason — missed two of his eight kicks — and had a hand in the team’s 27-24 Week 1 loss to the St. Louis Rams after he failed to convert on a very makeable 50-yard kick inside Edward Jones Dome.
But that was then, and this is now.
Since his first half miss in St. Louis, the Odessa, Fla. native has made six straight kicks, including two pivotal field goals in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 13-10 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“You focus on the process not the product,” Feely said. “You don’t worry about the end result.
For Feely, whose 27-yarder with just over a minute to play proved to be the difference, the end result was a successful homecoming Sunday.
“I had a feeling I was going to hit a game-winner before the game even started,” said Feely. “Just coming home and being about four kickoffs from my high school — down the road less than a mile away — it was fun for me to go to Jesuit and visit my team and some of the coaches that I played for throughout the week.
“It was a fun homecoming to come back and have dinner with my family and see them all week. To cap it with a game-winner is perfect.”
Feely’s banner day didn’t exactly come in perfect conditions, however. Less than 24 hours before the Cardinals and Buccaneers squared off, Raymond James Stadium played host to Miami and South Florida, leaving the grass in less than desirable shape from a kicking perspective.
“There was grass out there?” Feely joked. “I remember a lot of good grass when I lived here in Tampa. When you have two teams playing on it [Saturday], it’s always going to be tough field conditions. You had rain all week, so you knew it was going to get beat up last night and it did.
“You play in the conditions. You don’t make excuses, and we were able to find a way to win the game.”