Roberto Aguayo’s struggles to start the season became a national storyline when he missed two kicks on Monday Night Football, then somewhat redeemed himself with a game-winning kick as time expired for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a 17-14 win over the Carolina Panthers.
Aguayo has been under the microscope – at least as much as kickers can be nationally – because the Bucs made the unusual move of drafting him in the second round. That bold move elevated his profile around the NFL. His struggles have only increased the attention as those who love to preach the “draft reach” card are finding a bigger pulpit.
Aguayo became the first rookie since Pete Stoyanovich in 1989 to kick a game-winning field goal on the final play of a game after missing two field goals earlier in the same game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Tampa Bay had trailed the Panthers by eight points, partly because Aguayo had missed two field goals. That deficit was noteworthy for the Bucs because they had lost their last 34 games in which they trailed by eight or more, per Elias, the longest such streak in the NFL. The last time they won a game after trailing by eight was in 2012 and it was ironically against the Panthers.
Still, Aguayo’s game winner can’t fully take the pressure off the former Florida State star. He is hitting only 50 percent of his field goals (4-for-8) this season, the lowest percentage in the NFL among kickers with more than two attempts. Three of those four misses have come between 40 and 49 yards and he hasn’t attempted a field goal longer than 49 yards.
While he is the only kicker to have missed four in this still-young season, seven kickers have missed three.
On the flip side, six kickers – Adam Vinatieri, Justin Tucker, Matt Bryant, Greg Zuerlein, Steven Hauschka and Mason Crosby – have converted all of their field goal tries. Those kickers have nailed a combined 12 field goals from 50 yards or more.
MORE DEEP STATS
- According to Elias, the Panthers are the first team coming off a Super Bowl appearance to start a season by losing four of their first five games since they did it in 2004, when they went 1-4 after losing the previous season’s Super Bowl to the Patriots.
- The Atlanta Falcons, riding high atop the NFC South with a 4-1 record and a two-game lead, have shown as a well-rounded team, but Matt Ryan is one big reason for the early success. Ryan easily leads the NFL with a 121.6 passer rating (Sam Bradford is next at 109.8) and 1,740 passing yards (Andy Dalton is next at 1,503). Ryan also leads the NFL with 17 pass plays longer than 25 yards and has the most yards after catch for a quarterback at 909.
- Ryan is third in completion percentage, with Brian Hoyer (71.4) and Bradford (70.4) ahead of him.
- Dak Prescott, Hoyer and Bradford haven’t thrown an interception yet. Prescott has gone 155 straight passes without an interception, tops in the NFL, followed by Hoyer at 140 and Bradford at 125.
- Nobody has a lower sack percentage per attempt than Hoyer (2.1).
- Dalton has the highest completion percentage in the fourth quarter at 80 percent, followed by Bradford at 76.2.
- Five players – Marvin Jones (519), A.J. Green (518), Julio Jones (517), Greg Olsen (516) and T.Y. Hilton (507) – have more than 500 yards receiving, with Olsen being the only tight end on that list.
- Sammie Coates has the highest yards per catch at 22.16, with Phillip Dorsett (21.91) and Julio Jones (21.54) also above 20.
- Amari Cooper and Marvin Jones lead the NFL with seven catches of more than 25 yards.
- Nobody has been thrown to more than Mike Evans, a target on 62 occasions so far this season.
- The New York Jets’ Brandon Marshall has five dropped passes, the most in the NFL.
- Rookie Ezekiel Elliott is the only player with more than 500 yards rushing. He easily leads the league with 546. However, Elliott is only 12th with a 5.01 yards-per-carry average, a statistic led by Fozzy Whittaker at 5.81.
- Elliott is also the clear leader with 31 rushing first downs and 109 carries.
- David Johnson leads the NFL with 14 carries of more than 10 yards.
- Nobody has been stuffed for negative yardage more often than LeGarrette Blount (13 times).
- Spencer Ware has lost three fumbles, more than any other player.
- Lorenzo Alexander leads the NFL with seven sacks, but Everson Griffen leads with 47 yards on five sacks.
- Zach Brown and Luke Kuechly lead with 57 tackles apiece.
- Marcus Peters is the NFL leader with four interceptions.
- Bruce Irvin and Yannick Ngakoue have three forced fumbles, best in the NFL.
- David Amerson and Trumaine Johnson lead with nine passes defensed apiece.