Janikowski puts missed kicks behind him
AP Sports Writer
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) – A day of extra work and plenty of time sitting home watching highlights were enough for Sebastian Janikowski to regain his sense of humor after missing a potential game-winning field goal for Oakland against Arizona.
As reporters walked up to him Wednesday to ask about what went wrong on his rough day, Janikowski immediately pointed his finger at the player sitting next to him in the locker room, jokingly blaming Shane Lechler for a bad hold.
After spending Monday ironing out the kinks on the practice field and Tuesday moping around at home watching highlights, Janikowski said he is now ready to put to rest last Sunday’s three missed field goals, including a 32-yarder on the final play of the Raiders’ 24-23 loss to the Cardinals.
“I was disappointed, I mean shocked,” he said. “It happens. I can’t change anything. Going into warmups, I was 20-for-20, with 63-yarders both way. And, you go in the game you feel so good about it, ‘Ah, I can make any kick.’ And this thing happens. So, you’ve just got to move on. Next page.”
Janikowski doesn’t have much experience moving on from a game quite like this, having missed three field goals for just the fourth time in his 11 years in the NFL and first since the 2007 opener.
He said this game was most like one late in the 2001 season when he also missed three kicks, including a 41-yarder in the closing seconds of a 13-10 loss at Tennessee.
Despite how hard Janikowski took the misses, his teammates never questioned him, with coaches and players pointing out all the other mistakes that would have made the final kick moot.
“It’s nice to know that I’ve got guys behind me,” he said. “I got to apologize to everybody – Al Davis, the players, the fans. So, you know, come this weekend, kick a winner.”
Janikowski’s bad day started from the opening kickoff, when he was unable to bring down LaRod Stephens-Howling as he returned the opening kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown. He then missed a 41-yarder wide right in the third quarter with the Raiders leading by three and a 58-yarder wide right in the fourth quarter with Oakland down 24-23.
The Raiders got in position to win it again on the final play but Janikowski pushed the 32-yarder wide left and then held his head in disgust.
Janikowski said he didn’t believe the first two misses contributed to the third. It was his shortest miss since late in the 2006 season.
“No, because you look at the 58-yarder and I still hooked it a little bit,” he said. “So, going to the winning field goal, I was like, ‘Open up your hips and just think smooth.’ And it just sailed on me, wide left.”
Janikowski has already missed five field goals in three games, with another negated by an offside penalty against Tennessee in the opener. His three misses from inside 50 yards are as many as he had the past two seasons combined.
This all comes after the Raiders gave Janikowski the most lucrative contract ever for a kicker in the offseason, a $16 million, four-year deal that included $9 million of guaranteed money.
“I kicked a lot of balls on Monday,” Janikowski said. “I mean, I watched film for like an hour-and-a-half and it just seems like I didn’t finish my kicks, I didn’t go through it. I was just kind of like a 3-iron, just punch it and I stopped it. Yeah, I think, I’m going to be all right.”
NOTES: The Raiders had a lengthy injury list with 10 players missing practice and four being limited. The most notable were DTs Richard Seymour (hamstring) and John Henderson (foot), WR Louis Murphy (collarbone) and OL Robert Gallery (hamstring). … Coach Tom Cable said WR Chaz Schilens is making good progress from a knee injury that has sidelined him since training camp. … The Raiders signed LB Alex Joseph to the practice squad.