With the first three weeks of the regular season in the books, the Kansas City Chiefs finished the month of September with a record of 2-1. The team is off to a nice start to the season — and on Thursday, it got even better as the NFL announced that Kansas City punter Tommy Townsend has been named the AFC’s Special Teams Player of the Month.
AFC Players of the Month! (September)@Lj_era8 | @MelvinIngram | @tommy_townsend pic.twitter.com/FHobReSzFn— NFL (@NFL) September 29, 2022
This is the second time that Townsend has earned this award. He also won it in November of last season.
He now becomes the only punter in franchise history to ever win the award more than once. He also joins fellow teammate Harrison Butker and former Kansas City wide receiver Tamarick Vanover as the only Chiefs to win it multiple times.
While speaking to reporters on Thursday, Townsend credited his success to all the hard work he put in during the offseason — along with the momentum he established in 2021.
“I’ve been working on a lot of things in the offseason with my leg swing, and it’s nice to see that really starting to pan out (and) start to piece some things together with that,” said the punter. “Just that and just the mental side. Going into the season, I just feel really good. You know how I ended the year last year, (I’m) just able to take some cues over from last season and carry them over to this year.”
Statistically, Townsend has been great to start the season. During the first three weeks, he’s averaged 55.6 yards per punt. He has also been very effective at flipping field position, pinning opposing teams inside their own 20-yard line on five of his 11 attempts.
Townsend said that the key to performing at such a high level is getting into an early rhythm and being mentally prepared before each kick.
“I guess the biggest thing is kind of getting into a groove early,” Townsend noted. “You hit a couple of balls really well early on in the game, then you just get this feeling like you just can’t miss, the ball just looks huge, you drop the ball, it looks huge. So, that’s always a great feeling and that’s something I’m always striving for.
“A lot of it’s just the preparation in pregame — like just walking the field and doing a lot of visualization. And really just visualizing how the ball’s going to fly in the air in the stadium.
“Yeah, it’s just a lot of mental preparation.”
One moment that will not make Townsend’s September highlight reel was his pass during the fake field goal attempt against the Indianapolis Colts. Up 17-13 with 13 minutes left to go in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs attempted the fake on a fourth-and-11 that resulted in Townsend overthrowing a pass. Although the play failed, Townsend said there was good reasoning behind it.
“It just depends on the game (and) it depends on the situation” he explained. “We have different stuff up for different teams each week — and this was a fake that we’d been practicing specifically for Indianapolis. We just saw some things on tape, and it looked really good. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.”
But then Townsend smiled.
“[I] can’t say I’m not a little bit upset about my completion percentage,” he laughed.
It was actually Townsend’s third passing attempt with the Chiefs. Both of his previous passes — also on fakes — were completed for first downs. Now his completion percentage has fallen to 66.7%.
“But it is what it is,” said Townsend.