Tue, 19 Oct 2021

Matt Prater's 62-Yard Field Goal Underscores Long-Distance Accuracy

Arizona Cardinals
21 Sep 2021, 19:03 GMT+10

Franchise-record boot was 60th of career from at least 50 yards Darren Urban

Sunday morning, rookie Rondale Moore randomly happened across a video on Instagram showing his teammate, Matt Prater, booting his NFL-record 64-yarder as a member of the Broncos in 2013.

Sunday afternoon, it was Moore's quick feet that set up the kicker's franchise-record 62-yarder on the final play of the first half of the Cardinals' eventual 34-33 win over the Vikings.

"I have the utmost faith in Prater," Moore said, adding that "I knew a few yards it would put us in a position where it would be possible."

Prater was ready. He always is these days, even if the Cardinals started the drive at their own 34 with only 16 seconds on the clock. The offense, he said, can never be discounted. Prater's big leg is a reason why.

Prater not only owns the NFL record for longest field goal, but he has also hit an NFL record 60 field goals of at least 50 yards in his career, and his 75 percent conversions from that distance - 60 for 80 - is the most accurate in NFL history.

"I expect to make those when they send me out there," Prater said of the kick. "It's just fun getting the opportunity. Big momentum boost for the team. It's a fun part of the game and I'm happy I came through."

Prater now owns the franchise-longest field goals for three teams - the Broncos, Cardinals and Lions (59 yards.) His kick Sunday topped the previous franchise mark of 61, set by Jay Feely in a 2012 home game against Buffalo.

And perhaps it could've been even longer, if Moore hadn't made it 18 yards on his last play, getting the ball to the Minnesota 44. Every game, Prater kicks a pre-game field goal from 60 yards with snapper Aaron Brewer and holder Andy Lee, and figures out his maximum range from there.

Special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers asked Prater before the drive what the Cardinals' offense should target, figuring the Minnesota 45 - or a 63-yard try. Prater told him he would give it a go if the Cards could get "close" to the 50 - which would have been a 68-yard try. Moore made it a moot point.

"That one felt pretty good," Prater said. "It's like a golf swing. You make contact, as long as it's straight you know it's pretty good.

"Also, you get a spot and look up and you see they put a returner back there and that kind of pisses me off a little bit," Prater added with a chuckle.

"I think it would've been good from 70," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "He crushed it."

Prater emphasized how working with Brewer and Lee makes his job a lot easier. Brewer has history with Prater - the two were teammates in Denver, and Brewer has now snapped for both of Prater's 60-plus-yard field goals in his career.

But seeing a chunk of Prater's success first hand doesn't make Brewer jaded at his kicker's talent.

"To be able to go out and make a kick like that when the game is tight, is very impressive," Brewer said. "I get to work with the two best guys to ever do it, and they motivate me every day."

Sunday night, Prater ended up getting a social media message from a fan - and not from the Cardinals. It seems that all the damage Prater has done over the years to the Vikings, mostly as a Lions kicker but now with the Cardinals, made an impact.

"I wanted to say you're a great kicker but as a Vikings fan, when you retire, I'm throwing a party," the message read, and left Prater smiling.

"I think that's a nice complement," he said.

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