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Forbath Battles Gusty Winds For NFL Record

Posted Dec 23, 2012

Redskins K Kai Forbath goes from unheralded free agent kicker to NFL record holder in 10 short weeks. A look back at the unflappable start to his NFL career.

When the Redskins signed kicker Kai Forbath in Week 6, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan told the media that he would like to have Forbath would “be the answer at kicker for the next 15 years.”

In the interests of protecting the psyche of his young kicker, Shanahan focused on the long-term approach. After all, Forbath had never attempted an NFL kick in the regular season, and had only three days of practice with his new battery-mates.

But what Shanahan could have never predicted was the short term success that Forbath would have.

His first ever kick was a 50-yard blast that split the uprights against the Cincinnati Bengals. The following week, he hit a pair of kicks from beyond 40 yards.

Forbath braved rainy weather conditions in Pittsburgh, gusty winds in Cleveland and gale-force winds in Philadelphia. All the while, he never missed a beat, and more importantly never missed a kick.

After last week, he stood just one conversion away from tying the NFL record for consecutive field goals to start a career, set by Saints’ kicker Garrett Hartley in 2008 (16).

He got his first opportunity to tie the record on the field sustained drive of the day, lining up from 45 yards. This was by no means an easy kick in the gusty winds, but Forbath lined up just like normal.

“I thought it might come up short,” he said after the game, admitting it he felt nervous. “[The wind] kind of changed throughout the game. I was unpredictable at times.

“But it didn’t really affect the flight of the ball.”

The ball split the uprights in the closed end zone of Lincoln Financial Field, giving Forbath his share of the NFL record. He admitted afterward that he was aware of the record, but was able to block it out.

“I knew about it because [the media] have been asking us the whole week about it,” he said with a smile. “So I knew about it, yes.”

Forbath didn’t have to wait long for his opportunity to break the record, lining up from 42 yards out on the very next offensive possession.

Forbath had the weight of NFL history weighing on his shoulders, but was more concerned with the four-point deficit on the scoreboard.

“Our team needed points and I just go out there one kick at a time and try to keep this thing going,” he said. “I was just happy that it got there. That would have been embarrassing if I came up short on 42.”

Shanahan praised Forbath after the game, harkening back to the Tuesday in Week 6 when he invited Forbath to Redskins Park to compete for the job.

“It shows you what type of guy he is,” Shanahan said. “He came in with competition from a couple of veterans and he won the competition. It’s always nice to take a chance on a guy that hasn’t had an opportunity in the National Football League.

“To see a guy who handles himself the right way have that type of success, you’re always rooting for a guy like that. He is a class guy, it looks like he has ice in his veins, and he believes that he is going to make every kick he has.”

Forbath agreed with his head coach that positive self-talk is key.

“I think it’s just confidence going into each kick, knowing that I trained and prepared for this opportunity,” he said. “Just going out there and telling myself that I’m going to kick one at a time has been working.”

While he enjoyed his moment in the sun, Forbath deflected praise to teammates Nick Sundberg and Sav Rocca for snapping and holding, respectively.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better start and being with guys like Nick and Sav,” he said. “Having all the trust in them that they’ll get the ball down just makes my job a lot easier.

“I’ve been happy we’ve converted on all our attempts so far and we’re going to take it one week at a time like we have been doing.”

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