Cardinals kicker is back in groove after Week 11 struggles

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Matt Prater
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Matt Prater /

Arizona Cardinals placekicker Matt Prater has gotten back on a roll following a bad performance from a couple of weeks back.

By all accounts, the performance put forth by the Arizona Cardinals back on November 21 was an outstanding one. The Colt McCoy-led Cardinals posted a 23-13 road victory over the Seattle Seahawks and had very little to worry about as they entered their Week 12 bye.

But while Cards head coach Kliff Kingsbury did his best to downplay it, something that occurred during the Seahawks matchup was a bit concerning. Matt Prater, the club’s usually reliable placekicker, missed two relatively short field goal attempts (39, 36) and an extra point as well. Had the placekicking woes that plagued Arizona for several seasons returned?

Fortunately for the Redbirds, it doesn’t appear that they have. Prater rebounded coming out of the bye, banging home two FGs and three PATs during a 33-22 triumph over the Chicago Bears. The veteran’s flawless outing was especially impressive when you consider the fact that all five kicks were converted in the cold, wind, and rain of the legendary Soldier Field.

Matt Prater continued his success during the Arizona Cardinals Week 14 loss

This past Monday night, Prater was one of the few bright spots during the Cardinals’ 30-23 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. The 37-year-old was a perfect 3-for-3 on field-goal tries, and he also made good on both of his extra-point attempts during the defeat. Prater flashed the tremendous strength that still exists in his kicking leg by hitting on FGs from 53, 53, and 49 yards out.

Following the Rams disappointment, there was an interesting debate going on about whether Prater should’ve been given an opportunity to add a third 50 yard-plus field goal attempt (55 to be exact) to his Week 14 stat line. In fact, the decision made by Kingsbury may have flat-out cost the Cards a win over Los Angeles.

Arizona was trailing by ten points late in the 4th quarter when the offense faced a fourth down and one at the Rams 37-yard line. Kingsbury gambled, electing to call a play that featured running back James Conner carrying the rock. The 6-foot-1, 229-pounder was stuffed for no gain, and the team had blown a chance to make it a one-score contest with just over five minutes left on the clock.

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That’s all 20/20 hindsight now, but the good news is that Prater seems to have righted the ship. Thank goodness for that because there’s a fairly good possibility that the Cardinals may need a clutch kick from the two-time Pro Bowler somewhere down the road.