Placekicking issues resurfaced for Cardinals last weekend

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) Matt Prater
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) Matt Prater /

The dreadful performance from veteran placekicker Matt Prater in Week 11 could be a concern for the Arizona Cardinals going forward.

Through the first 10 weeks of the 2021 campaign, it seemed as if the Arizona Cardinals had finally found a placekicker that they could completely trust. The two-year, $6.5 million contract that the front office handed veteran Matt Prater appeared to be money well spent.

Unfortunately, Prater’s awful performance during Arizona’s 23-13 victory over the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday was more than a little concerning. The 37-year-old missed on two extremely makeable field goals (39, 36) and also shanked his first extra-point of the season following a second-quarter Cardinals touchdown.

Up until last weekend, Prater had converted on 14 of his 17 field-goal attempts, with the only misses coming from 43, 68, and 61 yards. The 15th-year pro had also drilled all 35 of his extra-point tries through the uprights and had not misfired on a kick of any kind since October 10th. Was the disappointing effort against the Seahawks just a one-time deal, or was it a sign of more bad days to come for the usually-reliable Prater?

Arizona Cardinals have had bad luck with kickers over the past few years

It certainly looked like the Cards had solved a problem at the placekicking position when they brought Prater to the desert back in March. Last year, the club sent Zane Gonzalez packing after the former Cleveland Browns draft pick failed on three late-game FG attempts, any one of which could’ve earned the Redbirds a spot in the playoffs.

Back in 2017, Arizona addressed the issue at the spot by signing 18-year professional Phil Dawson. The acquisition was deemed a failure, however, when the Florida native missed on 11 field-goal attempts, and three extra-point tries in less than two seasons for Arizona.

Chandler Catanzaro appeared to be a star on the rise when he connected on 57 of his 64 field-goal tries during the 2014 and 2015 campaigns. But after shanking a total of 11 kicks during the 2016 campaign, the “Catman” wasn’t offered a new contract by the Cards the following offseason.

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On a positive note, Prater did manage to bang home a 53-yard field goal during the Week 11 win over the Seahawks. Perhaps the forgettable outing was merely a “bad day at the office” for the two-time Pro Bowler. The Cardinals, a squad with a realistic shot at a Super Bowl championship, can only hope.