GLENDALE, Ariz. — It turns out Chandler Catanzaro is human, after all.
The Arizona Cardinals’ kicker, an undrafted free agent pickup out of Clemson, had made the first 16 field goal attempts of his career entering Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams.
He made a 43-yard kick in the second quarter, pushing his streak to 17 and tying him with Kai Forbath for the NFL record for most consecutive made field goals to begin a career.
Just one shy of setting a new record, Catanzaro was called upon in the fourth quarter for a 53-yard attempt with his team down by four and having just watched starting quarterback Carson Palmer leave the game with what could be a serious injury.
The kick had plenty of leg, but it went wide right.
“I just missed it,” he said after the game. “Left leg wasn’t locked at contact, and of course that caused it to push a little to the right. It had the distance, but — God is good. I’ve been on this great streak and I’m very thankful for that, and I’m just looking forward to the next opportunity to drill it and get on another streak.”
It was an impressive run for the 23-year-old who needed to beat out veteran Jay Feely in a training camp battle just to earn the job. Ten weeks into the season, no one is second-guessing the decision, even with the miss.
Besides, no one was expecting him to go through the season with an unblemished record, and he says he’s been kicking the ball well, anyway.
“Every kicker misses eventually,” he said. “I’m upset that it happened today, but hey, I’ve got to move on and I’m just really, really excited about where we stand as a team. Eight and one is pretty remarkable; so we’ve got to keep it rolling next week against the Lions, a good Detroit team, and I’m looking forward to playing a big factor in it.”
It’s clear the Cardinals have confidence in the rookie, otherwise they would not have sent him out for the failed attempt. Catanzaro said he wanted a shot to make it and was glad to be given the opportunity, and looks forward to the next time he will be called on to try and earn the team three points.
And now, with the streak in the rearview mirror, Catanzaro can move on without whatever pressure it may have applied.
“Ha ha, that’s what (long snapper) Mike Leach was telling me, it takes a little pressure off,” Catanzaro said. “But I’m just focused on the next kick. Next kick mentality.
“That’s what I’ve been saying; that’s what I was saying to [the media] during the streak, next kick. Success or failure on one kick does not mean success or failure on the next kick, so I’ve just got to move on one kick at a time. Keep playing for an audience of one; keep playing to glorify God. I’m excited about the team victory, though. That’s what I’m most excited about.”