Chargers get kick out of win

It could have been easy to pick the player that takes the brunt of the loss – if the San Diego Chargers had not pulled together. A short burst of air – exhalation – and a clutch moment was the difference between 7-4 and 8-3.

The kicker never gets talked about when things are going well. He is simply doing his job. But as soon as a kick is missed his name pops up more than ‘Smith' in the phone book.

Last week it was a blocked extra point that haunted the Chargers throughout the game. On Sunday it was an early field goal attempt, from 29 yards out, that brought about the nightmares.

Kaeding has missed four field goals all year and three have come in the past two games.

He has failed to convert his first kick in each of the past two games – having an extra point blocked last week – and missing from 29 yards out on the Bolts opening drive on Sunday.

But sometimes when the player makes an error, he gets a chance to redeem himself.

"I am used to battling complacency," Kaeding said, reflecting on a stellar career with Iowa. The NFL has proven to be a different beast altogether. "When the team counts on you like they did today, you have to be able to come through regardless of what has happened in the past."

Kaeding also missed a 52 yard field goal just before halftime – in what Kaeding said was one of his worst halves of football ever.

After the game, Kaeding would not blame his holder, Mike Scifres, or long-snapper, David Binn for the two misses. He took it upon himself – one of those moments you just hope to forget.

Kaeding also hit his first kickoff out of bounds – the second game in a row he has given the opposition the ball at the forty yard line.

Kaeding's other misses this year have come from 42 and 44 yards.

He did make two of his four attempts, converting from 25 and 43. His 43 yarder was the game winner, breaking a tie with just over two minutes to go in the game.

"It was good, especially given the circumstances in the first half," Kaeding said. "We ended up getting the ‘W' so we are pretty happy here. I was lucky to get those opportunities in the second half to make up for my mistakes."

Kaeding is 15-of-19 on field goals for the year, effectively ending his chances of challenging the team record for field goal percentage in a season (based on a minimum of 14 attempts) is 90.5 percent, held by John Carney, who made 19-of-21 in 1990.

Ironically it was Kansas City that the Chargers were afraid would snare Kaeding before they had a chance to in the third round of the 2004 NFL Draft. Kaeding was scouted heavily by the Chiefs.

"You are barking up the wrong tree if you are trying to be a chooser of where you are going to go," the rookie kicker said.

Kaeding is happy to be given an opportunity to knock a few through the uprights for San Diego. Although his game is sporadic at times and his kickoffs not as high or deep as many had hoped, he has given the Chargers a chance at making a field goal where they often punted in the past.

  • Scifres took over for Kaeding for the final kickoff of the game. Scifres continues to be a rock from the punter spot: three punts – all inside the twenty – two fair caught – one returned for one yard and an average of 45 per.

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