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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Phil Dawson becomes 10th kicker with 400 field goals





Phil Dawson became the 10th kicker in NFL history to convert 400 field goals in his career. Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports

By Nick Wagoner
November 21, 2016

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- For a team that hasn't had much to celebrate during a nine-game losing streak, the San Francisco 49ers at least have kicker Phil Dawson to serve as the one consistent positive they can count on from week to week.

Dawson's latest accomplishment was mostly lost in the shuffle of the Niners' 30-17 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, but it was no less impressive despite the lack of attention.

With a 33-yard field goal in the first quarter, Dawson became just the 10th kicker in NFL history to convert 400 field goals in his career. Out of that club, which includes the likes of Morten Andersen, Gary Anderson and Adam Vinatieri, Dawson has the highest field goal percentage at 84.7.

In typical Dawson fashion, he downplayed the accomplishment because the Niners came up short on the scoreboard.

“In a team game, it’s hard to feel good about individual accomplishments," Dawson said. "Probably when it’s all said and done and I’m no longer a member of the team I’ll enjoy it a little more. My focus [Sunday] was not on the 400 [field goals] but trying to help this team win the game and we came up short in that area.”

After Dawson's field goal sailed through the uprights, long-snapper Kyle Nelsonbee-lined for the end zone to secure the ball as a souvenir for his kicker. Dawson also received a warm welcome and congratulations from the majority of the Niners coaches and players.

“Well, I’ve always tried to be just one of the guys on the team," Dawson said. "I never wanted to be the weird kicker that did his own thing. To have that kind of reception means a lot to me, given my efforts through the years. I try to be a football player and just go kick the ball on fourth down, so I’ll remember that for a long time.”

Beyond the field goal achievement, Dawson finished with five points in Sunday's game, becoming the 10th player in team history to score 400 or more points with the franchise. He's the third-fastest kicker in 49ers history to reach that 400-point mark, doing it in just 58 games.

Dawson has drawn plaudits from coach Chip Kelly for his extensive study of wind patterns and conditions at all of the NFL stadiums. Sunday's game might have brought some of the most difficult he's faced since joining the 49ers as heavy rains hit Levi's Stadium.

It didn't seem to bother Dawson much.

“It got pretty tough there for a while," Dawson said. "At first it was just a nuisance. The field was fine. The balls weren’t getting that water-logged. Then it just kind of picked up in the second and third quarters. I’ve got to hand it to our field guys. The field held up really well. But, obviously, the balls were water-logged. Everything was just messy. It was a challenging day. Both teams had to play in it. I think there were no turnovers; that’s pretty impressive.”

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