Defeating the Elements

KANSAS CITY, MO - For Kansas City Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop knows how blessed he was to get a second chance to be a hero on Sunday. Before his final game winning field goal, he had to overcome missing one just a few minutes earlier. But he did and now the Chiefs are 5-2.

Former Chiefs Head Coach Dick Vermeil never really liked place kickers. During his tenure in Kansas City he would rotate kickers in and off the 53-man roster. Had he been on the sidelines Sunday during the Chiefs 13-10 overtime victory against Buffalo, it might not have been a pretty post game chat with the media.

A year ago kicker Ryan Succop was Mr. Irrelevant. This season he's been very proficient. On Sunday against the Bills, though he had to overcome a perceived lack of confidence from his head coach. Earlier in the game Head Coach Todd Haley passed up a chance for a field goal and asked his offense to convert a fourth and three deep in Buffalo territory.

It failed and we'll never know if Succop would have made what would have been a 43-yard field goal attempt. And when you consider that Haley did the same thing a week ago at home against Jacksonville, one has to wonder if the head coach has lost faith in Succop.

"Ryan's a tough-minded guy. It's one of the reasons we really liked him last year and wanted to get him on our team," Haley said after the game.

And in fact, you'd have to believe that Haley has plenty of confidence in Succop because the team never brought in another kicker to challenge him the entire offseason.

Still one had to question his confidence in Succop when he lined up for a 39-yard game winning field goal late in overtime. As the ball started true toward the center of the uprights, suddenly the ball sailed way to the left. It was at first glance a shank. But when you watch the kick again from the opposite end zone, it was clear that the swirling winds blowing east to west, forced the ball of course.

"To be honest with you, the first kick, I hit it where I wanted to, as crazy as that sounds, and it absolutely took off and took a left turn," Succop said. "We knew it was windy and I tried to play it right but I never would've imagined it would've moved that much. It was unbelievable. It was windy."

The same thing happened to Bills kicker Rian Lindell. His attempt to win the game in overtime started dead on, then started to drift off course before knocking the right upright and falling to the turf.

Still when the Chiefs found themselves with one more opportunity to get their hands on the ball with just under .90 second left in the game, Succop began warming up on the sidelines hoping for redemption.

"Really the thought that was going through my mind was, ‘hey, if I get another opportunities, it's in God's hands," Succop said of his second chance.

Well that may be true but ultimately Succop had to execute it. But there was little doubt from his head coach that Succop wouldn't deliver on either kick.

"He did it exactly the way he wanted to do it. There was a factor there that he didn't quite account for or wasn't able to account for. I thought he was going to make that one and I thought he was going to make the one he made," Haley said.

The Chiefs have to feel fortunate that they were able to have enough seconds left in overtime to pull out the victory. And though this game was hard on the fans, the players can learn from this experience.

"Fortunately, our team just came together and was just not going to be denied and just what an effort by our team and our coaches," Succop said.

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