Arizona Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez has once again missed a go-ahead/game-tying kick, costing the team yet another win.
While it’s premature to pin the blame solely on Gonzalez given the Arizona Cardinals stagnant offense all afternoon, this is the third go-ahead/game-tying kick he has missed in 2020. Missing it once is a fluke. Missing another will draw interest. The third miss must be the charm.
If you recall, Gonzalez missed the game-winning kick against the Seattle Seahawks in week seven. An interception from linebacker Isaiah Simmons gave Gonzalez a mulligan, and he pushed his second try through the uprights.
A few weeks later against Miami, Gonzalez’s game-tying field goal fell short. And finally today, Gonzalez pushed a go-ahead field goal to the right.
For an NFL team in the thick of the playoff race, mistakes like these lead to seventeen-week seasons. They can also put head coaches on the hot seat. And while Kliff Kingsbury isn’t going anywhere barring a complete meltdown during the season’s final five weeks, we can look to the past and confirm poor play from the kicker will force coaches to look elsewhere for employment.
Take the 2019 Dallas Cowboys, whose special teams miscues and poor play from kicker Brett Maher led to an 8-8 season and head coach Jason Garrett‘s firing. Perhaps Kingsbury grows wise and admits that the team must move on from Gonzalez.
While Kingsbury has remained adamant regarding his trust in Gonzalez, he will eventually come to crossroads. Does he allow this kicker to continue costing him wins or at least putting the Cardinals in the position to win at the expense of his job?
Kingsbury could hold onto Gonzalez and let it play out. But if he does so, he is putting much more at stake. Especially with a kicker whose career kicking percentage beyond 40 yards is in the meager low-sixties.