NFL Stinkers and Studs – Week 1 Kicker and Punter Review
NFL Football is back, Baby! What an absolutely crazy week of football it was. With the commencement of a new season, I wanted to try something a bit different. If you’re a frequent visitor, you know I put a lot of work into my Weekly Power Rankings for the CFL but with 32 teams, I just don’t have the time to do the same for the NFL. Instead, I present to you my new segment; Stinkers and Studs! I will do my best to round up my top (and bottom) performers from around the NFL and present it to you in a more bite-sized format. Without further ado, let’s discuss who was a Stud and who Stank in Week 1;
1. Randy Bullock – Kicker - Tennessee Titans – 2/3 FG – 2/2 XP
Randy Bullock had a good game statistically, but we need to dive a bit deeper to figure out why he’s one of this week's Stinkers. In the First Quarter, he made a PAT. In the Second Quarter, he made a 46 yard and a 23 yard field goal. After some magic through 2 Quarters, the Giants rallied and scored 3 touchdowns with 1:09 left in the game. The score was now 20-19 for the Titans. The Giants took the aggressive route and scored a 2 point convert to take the lead 21-20. The Titans got the ball back with 1:00 on the clock and managed to get into field goal range (with help from New York penalties) and with 00:04 on the clock, out came Randy Bullock for a 47 yard field goal. He missed it. He missed it wide right. An NFL kicker should be automatic from 47 yards. He had the opportunity to be the hero, but instead, he’s the Stinker and probably lost some confidence in the locker room.
2. Ricardo Blankenship – Kicker - Indianapolis Colts – 2/3 FG – 2/2 XP
Ricardo Blankenship also had a decent showing in Week 1 but I would argue he had the worst week out of all Specialists in the NFL. He started the game off strong, making a 45 yard field goal, and came back onto the field in the Fourth Quarter to sink a 27 yarder. He followed that up with 2 extra point converts. The score was now tied at 20-20 and the teams headed into Overtime. The Texans started with possession but quickly punted it to the Colts. The colts managed a 13 play, 45 yard drive that took 6:30 off the clock. Blankenship trotted out to attempt a 42 yard field goal. As you can probably guess, he missed right. I was disappointed, but even I couldn’t have predicted what happened next. The Colts had evidently had enough of Ricardo and cut him immediately after the game. What a horrible (and stinky) way to go…
3. Brandon McManus – Kicker – Denver Broncos – 3/4 FG – 1/1 XP
Brandon McManus started the game strong, completing a 30 yard, 40 yard, and 26 yard field goal, as well as an extra point attempt. The reason he is a Stinker this week is due to what happened in the Fourth Quarter. The score was 17-16 and Russel Wilson was desperately trying to get his Denver Broncos in field goal range to win the game against the Seattle Seahawks (that is weird to type out). Brandon McManus told the HC Nathaniel Hackett that he could make it from 64 yards out from the left hash. After some questionable time-management skills, the Offense got him there. Now for some background: Brandon McManus 2/10 over 58 yards. The Broncos still decided to put the ball on the foot of McManus instead of the 160M dollar quarterback they just acquired. Well, he missed it and lost the game. Classic Stinker move Brandon.
1. Cade York – Kicker – Cleveland Browns - 4/4 FG – 2/2 XP
Drafted in the Fourth Round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Cade York was expected to be good. I’m not sure anyone expected him to play this well right out of the gate. He started his night off easy, completing 2 extra point attempts to help the Browns get out to a 14-0 lead. Before the half, he completed a 26 yard field goal and came back in the Third Quarter to make a 34 yard field goal. In the Fourth Quarter, the Browns drove down the field and settled for a 36 yarder, courtesy of York’s foot. Unfortunately, the Carolina Panthers, led by Baker Mayfield, had gas left in the tank and came back to take the lead 24-23 late in the Fourth Quarter. The Browns were able to get Cade York into position for a game winner. The catch? It was from 58 yards out. With 00:13 left in the game, the rookie sent an absolute rocket between the goalposts and showed everyone why you draft a kicker. What a Stud.
2. Jamie Gillan – Punter – New York Giants – 6 Punts – 51.5 Avg. – 41.2 Net Avg. – 5 In20Y
Jamie Gillan is our only Punter to appear on the Stinkers and Studs list today, mainly because Punters are never the reason you win/lose a game. His performance against the Titans this week was the most impressive in my opinion. He punted 6 times and pinned the Titans inside their own 20 yard line 84% of the time. That’s just plain impressive. Gillan’s best punt of the night was split between a 47 yarder that was caught fairly at the Tennessee 7 yard line, and a 69 yard punt that was downed at the Tennessee 14 yard line.
3. Harrison Butker – Kicker – Kansas City Chiefs – 1/1 FG – 4/4 XP
3.5. Justin Reid – Safety – Kansas City Chiefs – 1/2 XP
Harrison Butker had a hell of a night. He was 1/1 on PATs when he went down with a severe ankle injury that had him carted into the locker room. What do you do when your kicker goes down with an injury? You bring in the Safety! Justin Reid was electric in his debut as a kicker in the NFL. He made a PAT and managed to kick a ball through the endzone on a kickoff. He, unfortunately, missed a PAT in the Second Quarter but that is okay, seeing as Harrison Butker is just a monster of a man. Butker came out favouring his left ankle, but it was taped, and he looked ready to go. The chiefs gave him his opportunity when they lined him up for a 54 yard field goal, which made taking only 1 step and standing on 1 leg! Butker came back and made 3 more extra points to contribute to the Chief's 44-21 Win over the Arizona Cardinals. He is a certified Stud for that kick.
Thank you for making it this far in my article! Please make sure to let me know what you think. -Big Ups to everyone on Twitter who continues to post great Specialist content. I couldn't do it without you :)