Rams rookie Greg Zuerlein is kicking his way into history

US PRESSWIRE

Greg Zuerlein's is one long field goal away from another record. Will be conscious enough to see it happen?

Greg Zuerlein blacked out as his 54-yard field goal sailed through the uprights. The rookie missed his first game-winning field goal, one that gave the St. Louis Rams an incredible upset win over the San Francisco 49ers with just 26 seconds left in overtime.

"I was looking at Johnny," Zuelein told Bernie Miklasz after the game. "I normally just give him a high five or a low five. He was screaming and then some other people hit me and I blacked out."

That kick was the second of two clutch field goals the Missouri Western product with the thunderous leg drilled on Sunday afternoon. The other one, a 53-yarder with two seconds left in regulation, tied the game and gave him the chance to do it all again. Those two kicks also snapped a rough stretch.

The Rams sixth-round pick was a perfect 13-for-13 on field goals through the first five weeks of the season, helping an upstart team climb to its first winning record in six years. He even kicked a 56-yard field goal at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Fortunes changed for Greg the Leg and the rest of the team in a Week 7 loss in Miami. Zuerlein missed three of his five field goal attempts. The Rams lost by three points that week, the first game in a five-game winless streak. Zuerlein missed a 37-yard chip shot and a 66-yard hail mary kick near the end of the game. That started a 4-for-11 stretch.

The conversation quickly went from when Zuerlein would break the next kicking record to whether or not he could handle the pressure. Head coach Jeff Fisher never doubted him.

"He's fine," Fisher told reporters after his kicker missed a 37-yard attempt last week in Arizona. "He just rushed it and pulled it. I'm not concerned. His leg's good, he's not over-kicking, nor is John during the week."

Rookie jitters, in so many words.

"He hasn't had a lot of opportunities to kick," Fisher explained following the Arizona game. Zuerlein had just four attempts in four games prior to one.

"And then when he has, you go back to the San Francisco game or go back to the Miami game, those are unique shots. So, just a normal field goal, he hasn't had many opportunities. But, we've also said that our touchdown-to-field goal ratio was skewed early. Hopefully, it's moving in the direction we need it to be."

It looked like the jitters were still there on Sunday. He missed a 58-yard attempt in the second quarter that sent the Rams into the locker room trailing 7-0 at the half.

Retired kicker Jeff Wilkins caught up to him before the start of the third quarter. The franchise's all-time leading scorer passed on a simple message, no shop talk, no kicker secrets just one prophetic message, "don't worry about that one, you're going to make the game winner."

"I was pretty relieved," Zuerlein said after the game. "Relief and excitement at the same time. It's a mixture of kind of everything."

Those two field goals make it seven three-point shots of 50 yards or more. He needs one more 50-yarder to tie the single-season record held by Mort Anderson and Jason Hanson. The Rams have four games left on the schedule to give Zuerlein a chance to put his name in the record book, blacking out while another big kick rockets through the uprights on its way into history.

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