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Cardinals kicker Catanzaro cuts it loose, makes another game-winner

Arizona Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro (7) watches his field goal split the uprights as Drew Butler (2) holds and Minnesota Vikings cornerback Marcus Sherels (35) tries to block during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Last season, as a rookie, Arizona Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro never once took the field with an opportunity to make a game-winning kick late in the game.

He’s now done it in each of the Cardinals’ last two home games, with his 32-yard kick beating the Cincinnati Bengals 34-31 in Week 11 and a 47-yard blast propelling the Cardinals past the Minnesota Vikings 23-20.

“That one felt good; that one felt really good,” Catanzaro said of Thursday’s. “Like I’ve said before, there are four parts to every kick. The blocking up front was great, as always, the snap by Mike Leach was awesome, the hold by Drew Butler was awesome.

“The kick felt great off my foot; I knew as soon as it left my foot it was going in.”

Both kicks helped the Cardinals avoid late collapses, and each came in front of a national television audience.

Including Thursday’s effort, Catanzaro is now 25-of-27 this year on field goal attempts and 44-of-47 on PATs. The second year player out of Clemson has proven to be a reliable weapon for head coach Bruce Arians to turn to, and now he’s starting to show he is clutch, too.

Confidence was never an issue.

“There was never a doubt in my mind, really,” he said. “I gave myself permission to cut it loose out there. I have been hitting it great, so I just went out there and trusted my swing.

“I kicked to make the kick, not to miss the kick. I gave myself permission to cut it loose and I am glad I got it done.”

Who isn’t?

Not surprisingly, Catanzaro said making game-winning kicks never gets old. They’re awesome, he noted, and you have to cherish moments like that and enjoy them.

The 24-year-old is thankful for the opportunity — both to kick in the NFL and have a chance to lift his team to victory with his right leg.

“The quote game-winning kick, yeah, I treat every kick like a game-winner, but those are definitely special,” he said. “It was definitely key for me to kick, to make the kick and not to miss the kick — if that makes sense — and just cut it loose.”


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