On a day when he averaged over 50 yards per punt, drew a penalty that kept a scoring drive alive and successfully flipped the field on two occasions, Colts’ punter Pat McAfee could only gush about the man to his left, kicker Adam Vinatieri. It was Vinatieri’s 53-yard field goal with eight seconds left that lifted the Colts to a 23-20 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
“I felt like I hit the ball pretty well, but I got to be a part of a Hall of Famer hitting a game-winner.”
McAfee’s part was important, serving as Vinatieri’s holder on the game-winner as well as his other two field goals and two extra points. Since becoming Vinatieri’s holder in 2009, the two have teamed up to convert all but one of 98 extra point attempts and 59 of 68 field goal attempts.
Watching the two during training camp, it’s clear there’s a great chemistry between them. It was during this year’s camp, with the Colts cutting salary and Vinatieri scheduled to earn $2 million, that some started speculating that the team might cut Vinatieri and hand over the place kicking duties to McAfee. That speculation was heightened when McAfee received a good number of reps with the field goal unit during practice and even booting a 31-yard field goal against the Rams in preseason. McAfee is known for his strong leg and regularly showed off his range in practice, connecting from 60 yards and beyond.
McAfee says any notion of him taking kicks is absurd. When asked whether or not the Colts would have considered trotting him out for a long field goal attempt had they not gotten in Vinatieri’s range, McAfee responded, “Never. There’s a fountain of youth Adam Vinatieri has found. He hits bombs on a regular basis.”
McAfee then turned to his locker neighbor and wondered aloud if Sunday’s kick would be on Vinatieri’s highlight reel when he’s inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“I might get in the Hall of Fame that way,” joked McAfee with his usual sense of humor.
The Colts might be rebuilding on offense and defense, but they can depend on a couple of veteran special teamers to come through in the clutch like they did Sunday.
Chuck Chapman is entering his second season as the editor and lead writer for Colts 101. He also covered the Cincinnati Bengals for the Sports Media 101. Chuck and his family are originally from Ohio, but have settled in Central Indiana and become big Colts fans. You can read Chuck’s other writing about the Colts at www.colts101.com.
Tags: Adam Vinatieri, pat mcafee
Posted in Colts Blog