Cardinals lift up Matt Ammendola after missing game-tying FG vs. Eagles
GLENDALE — The life of a kicker can be a tough one. Just ask Matt Ammendola.
With starting kicker Matt Prater sidelined with a hip injury, Ammendola was the next man up in Arizona’s eyes after Arizona tried out a handful of kickers earlier in the week ahead of the Week 5 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
For the majority of Sunday, Ammendola did all that was asked of him, knocking in a field goal, a pair of extra points and three touchbacks.
Then came the waning moments of the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Kyler Murray’s scrambled and slide that left a yard to go followed by a spike to stop the clock set up Ammendola with his team down 20-17 with just 22 seconds left in regulation. Ammendola was the Cardinals’ last chance at forcing overtime behind a 43-yard field goal.
The snap was there, the hold was fine but as the football sailed toward the middle of the uprights, it took a nasty golf slice, missing wide right and sealing the team’s fate at home in the defeat.
“It’s like anything, you just have to go out there and keep working and try to take the most of the opportunity,” the kicker said postgame. “At the end of the day, we all have ups and downs.
“It is what it is. Obviously, it sucks. It’s a bad feeling, but you just have to keep pushing. Got to bounce back through adversity. It is what it is.”
The final 20-17 score was the same as Ammendola’s last game played on Sept. 25, when as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs he missed an extra point and then a 34-yarder, this time with his team ahead 17-13 and nine minutes left, in a loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
That was before the Cardinals picked him up with Prater ailing this week.
Despite missing the game-tying field goal, Ammendola’s new teammates made sure to pick up the kicker instead of letting him fester with the feeling of losing the game.
No one more than offensive lineman Justin Pugh, who told Ammendola to keep his head up following another frustrating home loss.
“At the end of the (expletive) day, it’s not one (expletive) guy,” Pugh said postgame, interrupting Ammendola’s media scrum. “I missed a block, we missed touchdowns. We should have had the ball and been able to score. It’s not on one (expletive) guy.”
The show of support after such a terrible ending wasn’t lost on Ammendola, either.
“Almost every guy that I talked to coming in here said, ‘Keep your head up,'” Ammendola said postgame. “Obviously, I’ve got to make my kicks at the end of the day but it’s a team sport. I’ve got to do my job better. Having the camaraderie of the team and how they just lift me up, I’m going to keep pushing and get back to work on Monday.
“Every guy in here is amazing and very charismatic in just telling me it’s not the end of the day. You woke up on the right side of the bed, you’re going to be fine.”