It was not so long ago that Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker successfully made three consecutive 50-plus-yard field goals against the Los Angeles Chargers.
As it went, only the last one counted — a 58-yarder to seal a 23-20 road division victory. But more than anything, that moment has made the weeks to follow rather puzzling.
Butker had an extra point blocked in that win against the Chargers, and he has missed four in the five games to follow. The Chiefs have their same long snapper from the last five seasons in James Winchester, but their punter — and holder — is the undrafted rookie, Tommy Townsend.
“Well, from a mechanical point of view, I’m pleased with everything,” special teams coordinator Dave Toub said on Thursday. “I think Tommy’s really stepped in and done a good job. There’s nothing wrong with the hold, and the snaps are good. Winchester is snapping as good as he ever has, and I just think it’s a matter of we had weather up there (in Denver). You got to look at each day and that was a tough day.”
The strangest part of Butker’s extra point troubles has been his success on field goals. Butker was 3 of 3 against the Broncos, hitting from 40, 31 and 26 — and he has been successful on his last eight. Since 2015, NFL extra points have been taken from 33 yards away.
He only missed one of five extra points against the Broncos.
“When you look at it, its eight field goals (against the Broncos) — I mean extra points and a 33-yard field goal, he had eight of them and he missed one,” noted Toub. “That’s the way I look at it: he was seven for eight. If you look at it, their guy (Brandon McManus) missed the first extra point too, so I mean it was tough day, it was a weather day — and I thought our guys handled it well. Every day is different, I know he’s got a couple misses on extra points. We got total confidence in Harrison Butker on what he can do going forward.”
Prior to 2015, the NFL extra point was always taken from 20 yards out.
“It’s not a chip shot anymore; it’s only worth one point,” added Toub. “[Butker has] got to look at them the same way, and he does. I just think he’s a little snakebit right now when it comes to the extra points. I mean, I think it’s something that might be in the back of his mind a little bit. We just got to get over the hump, we got to put together a game where we knock them all out and then put another one together, knock them all out and get a streak going where he’s not missing extra points anymore.”
With the Chiefs as 20-point favorites against the New York Jets on Sunday, Butker may be afforded ample opportunity to get right.