Monday, October 22, 2018

Bucs' Chandler Catanzaro emotional after making longest-ever OT field goal

October 22, 2018
By Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer

TAMPA, Fla. -- Buccaneers kicker Chandler Catanzaro's voice started to quiver and his icy-blue eyes grew misty. He'd just nailed the 59-yard game-winning field goal -- the longest field goal in overtime history -- and all he could think about were those who didn't give up on him after he missed what would have been the game-winner.

"They mean a lot," Catanzaro said of teammates who rushed to give him a hero's welcome.
"As a kicker, you never want to go in there [and miss] when they set you up so well. ... I'm just so thankful it worked out like it did. God is good."

The previous long was Oakland's Sebastian Janikowski from 57 yards on Oct. 19, 2008.

"I almost passed out. I stood up and got dizzy trying to scream too much," said Bryan Anger, the Bucs' punter who was the holder on Catanzaro's kick. "It's tough to keep your head down and push through that.

"He played the wind well. The wind was kind of going in our faces and cross from right to left, so that's tough because he [had to] start outside the uprights. ... So he started outside the uprights and let it draw back in. The wind was a little tricky today. Up top, the wind was going one way and below, it was going the other."

With 4 seconds to go with the game tied 23-23, Catanzaro saw his 40-yard kick sail wide right. In the second quarter, he also missed an extra point -- all from the same hashmark. Anger wasn't sure if that contributed to the misses.

"I was extremely upset with myself. I told the guys earlier, 'This team deserved to win this game,'" Catanzaro said. "They played their tails off all game, and for me to miss a kick like that, it was very frustrating for me, especially after the prep I had this week."

Defensive line coach Brenston Buckner, a fellow Clemson alum who was with Catanzaro when he was with the Arizona Cardinals, said he told him: "Stick with it. You've been here."

Quarterback Jameis Winston told him: "We're gonna give it to you again. Stay in it. Do your thing."

Because of the new NFL overtime rules -- which if the game is tied at the end of the overtime period, it will result in a tie -- head coach Dirk Koetter felt he had to pull the trigger. He had also witnessed Catanzaro drill a 61-yarder in practice this week. Catanzaro made a 57-yarder when he was with the New York Jets last season and was 62.5 percent on kicks of 50-plus yards since 2016.

"I knew he had the distance in him," Koetter said. "If we didn't make that one, we weren't getting it back. You either go for the win or hope you tie. The way the game was going, we were going for the win. But I knew he could make it if he hit it."

Browns head coach Hue Jackson said he was surprised to see the Bucs line up for a 59-yard field goal in overtime.

"I said there's no way he was going to make that. He did. So they won," Jackson said.

Defensive back Damarious Randall was expecting to see the punt team.

"I saw the kicker come out and I thought, 'He just missed a [40]-yarder, there's no way he's going to make a 58- or 59-yarder,'" Randall said. "That's just the nature of the game. He just missed a kick and he just made a hell of a kick. Just tip your hat to him. That's a hell of a kick."

Added Baker Mayfield: "I'm thinking if he doesn't make it, we're getting the ball at midfield, we have less than 20 yards until our kicker is in comfortable reaching distance at that. That's a great kick. You don't see that often."

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