There have been 14 made field goals of 60 yards or longer in NFL history. One of those was kicked by Rams K Greg Zuerlein on Sept. 30, 2012.
Zuerlein would be asked too much of in his rookie year attempting 13 field goals of 50 yards or more. He settled in in his second season hitting 92.9% of his attempts in 2013, but a couple of tough games asked questions of Greg Zuerlein in 2014 that hadn't been asked up to that point.
The placekicker's job is one of ultimate fickleness. Zuerlein missed a field goal attempt both against the Seahawks and the Chiefs in week 6 and 7 last year. Neither miss mattered. The Rams beat the Seahawks and lost, miserably, to the Chiefs. Zuerlein missed two more against Washington in week 13, two more misses that had inarguably no impact on the final result. The Rams won 24-0. The only one of Zuerlein's five missed field goals that mattered in retrospect was in San Diego in week 11 in a 3-point loss with QB Shaun Hill throwing a late interception in the red zone that, had things turned out more fortunately for Rams fans, would have rendered each of Zuerlein's 2014 misses into the fahgettaboudit bin.
How then to consider Zuerlein in 2015? Is he of the powerful leg capable of changing a low-scoring game's dynamics and instantly reversing field position advantages? Is he a more mercurial kicker who has missed five attempts from less than 40 yards in just three years playing his home games in a dome? Or is kicking the ultimate example of small sample sizes affecting judgment in the most dubious way?
I don't know the answer, but that's 300 damn words on field goal kicking. I want my participation trophy.
Chances of Making Final Roster (10/10)
I'll admit. I've got a pro-Zuerlein bias. Maybe it's the nicknames or the hype that his 2012 rookie season built or maybe it's just the letter Z. It's a great letter. Really underappreciated.
The Rams are relying on defense and a running game to get them to success in 2015. Greg Zuerlein might be the X-factor for this season that nobody's talking about.