Adam Vinatieri’s season-long struggles persisted and quick healer Patrick Mahomes was kneecapped by Kansas City’s ugly special teams in a Week 10 slate where seven games featured errant extra points or field goal flubs and follies.
Kicking wasn’t one of the challenges the Indianapolis Colts expected to face when Andrew Luck retired last summer, not with the NFL’s all-time leading scorer around. But Vinatieri has missed 11 kicks, including six extra points.
His latest miss meant Indy needed to score a touchdown after reaching the Dolphins’ 16-yard line trailing 16-10 Sunday, but the Colts were stopped at the 8 on fourth down in the final minute and Indy fell to 5-4.
Vinatieri has missed kicks in all four of those losses.
He is 14 for 20 on PATs, a 70% clip that would be the worst in NFL history for a kicker with at least that many attempts.
Colts coach Frank Reich said that while he hasn’t had any discussions with general manager Chris Ballard about Vinatieri’s status with the team, “everybody is held accountable” and “there is an expectation” for better accuracy.
The league’s reigning MVP, Mahomes, returned much sooner than expected from a gruesome right knee injury and threw for a season-best 446 yards and three touchdowns at Tennessee just 3½ weeks after dislocating his right kneecap in Denver.
In a game that featured missed PATs by both teams, the Chiefs led 29-20 in the closing minutes but couldn’t reach the end zone late and were forced to attempt three field goals in the final 3:19. Harrison Butker’s 39-yarder gave K.C. a 32-27 lead.
The Chiefs had the chance to salt away the victory when they lined up facing third-and-2 at the Tennessee 29-yard line with 1:36 remaining, but Mahomes was sacked and Butker trotted out for a 47-yard try that would give K.C. an eight-point cushion.
But snapper James Winchester delivered the ball sooner than holder Dustin Colquitt was expecting and Colquitt chucked the ball away.
“I looked back, Dustin was looking forward, then I started to see him look back, but I had already started the snap,” Winchester said.
The intentional grounding call on Colquitt gave the Titans the ball at their 39 and it took them just three plays to score the go-ahead touchdown on Ryan Tannehill’s 23-yard scoring throw to Adam Humphries with 23 seconds left.
Mecole Hardman returned the ensuing squib kick to the 38 and Mahomes put the Chiefs in position for a game-tying field goal with a 23-yard pass to Demarcus Robinson with 10 seconds left and a 5-yard pass to Robinson before Butker came out again with 3 seconds left for a 52-yard attempt to force overtime.
Joshua Kalu raced around from Butker’s right and got his left hand on the ball for the block .
“I have no idea what happened on that last one,” Winchester said.
The Week 10 follies began with Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson missing an extra point with 66 seconds remaining that left Oakland clinging to a 26-24 lead over the Chargers on Thursday night. But Philip Rivers missed his last six passes before throwing an interception with 20 seconds left.
Other missed that loomed large:
—Steve Hauschka missed a 34-yard field goal with 16 seconds left in the first half and a 53-yarder with 17 seconds left in the fourth quarter of Buffalo’s 19-16 loss to Cleveland.
—The Giants missed a 2-point try and an extra point in their 34-27 loss to the Jets.
—The Rams missed a field goal in their 17-12 loss at Pittsburgh that had them trying to go for a touchdown in the final minute instead of a field goal attempt.
—And Dallas missed a field goal that had them trying a “Hail Mary” from midfield at the end of their 28-24 loss to Minnesota Vikings
One game that didn’t feature a missed kick was Green Bay’s 24-16 win over Carolina at snowy Lambeau Field, but it did feature a curious call: going for 2 after Christian McCaffrey found the end zone on a 3-yard run with 11:58 remaining. Instead of kicking an extra point — the snow wasn’t sticking at that point — Ron Rivera elected to go for 2 and Kyle Allen’s throw to Greg Olsen fell incomplete.
“That was purely analytics, 100 percent,” Rivera said. “The thing is, if you get it there and you score at the end, then you’re kicking to win the game. If you don’t get it there, you get an opportunity to go for two again, which we felt pretty good about the play we had called the first time and we felt good about having the second one. It most certainly was just following the analytics of it.”
McCaffrey was stopped inches short on the game’s final play, the second time this season he was denied just shy of the goal line with the game on line.
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