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On Final Drive, Nobody Was More Nervous Than Dustin Hopkins

Posted Oct 11, 2016

When the Ravens were driving down the field late in the game, nobody was more nervous than Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins, who had missed an extra point earlier in the game.

When the Ravens were driving down the field late in the game, nobody was more nervous than Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins, who had missed an extra point earlier in the game.

Football is played through all types of weather. In the Redskins' 16-10 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, the heavy wind played a major factor in the game.

Perhaps nobody was affected by the wind more than Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins.

After the Ravens opened up the scoring in the first quarter, the Redskins answered with a 85-yard punt return touchdown by Jamison Crowder.

But on the ensuing extra point attempt, Hopkins, who had yet to miss an extra point all season, kicked a perfect strike until he saw the wind carry the ball wide left of the goal post.

“Wind was giving me a hard time, man,” Hopkins said. “If there’s no wind, maybe that ball goes in for the extra point.”

The wind wasn’t done giving Hopkins a hard time. At the end of the first half, Hopkins kicked a beautiful ball from 56 yards out, only for the wind to die it down and make the kick short.

“For the long field goal, I don’t think I could’ve hit a better ball,” Hopkins said. “Just hung up and didn’t quite get there. So yeah, it affected me.” 

In the third quarter, Hopkins would redeem himself. Quarterback Kirk Cousins connected with Pierre Garçon for a 21-yard touchdown, and Hopkins would add the extra point to give the Redskins a 13-10 lead. Later in the quarter, he would extend the Redskins lead to six, knocking through a 27-yard field goal.

But for the third time in as many games, the Redskins’ opponent had the ball late in the fourth quarter with an opportunity to tie or win the game. 

With the Redskins up just six, Hopkins was more nervous than anybody on the sidelines, because he knew that his missed extra point could cost his team.

“There’s no doubt I’m thinking about [the missed extra point],” Hopkins said. “Ultimately, that’s my fault. I’m on the team to make kicks, and I didn’t do that.” 

Hopkins was preparing for the worst, and started taking practice kicks on the sides in case the Ravens scored and the Redskins got the ball back.

“My first thought was, I’m taking practice runs if we get the ball with 30 seconds left, and if we end up getting in field goal range, I need to be ready, even though the chances were unlikely,” Hopkins said. “I didn’t want to be the guy unprepared, just because I wasn’t thinking ahead. I started to doing that.”

But for the third straight game, the Redskins defense prevailed. After a potential Ravens touchdown was overturned, Baltimore failed to convert on a 4th-and-8 inside the red zone, turning the ball over on downs.

Nobody was happier than Hopkins.

“I wasn’t taking another kick on that fourth down; I was just watching the game,” Hopkins said. “[I] finally let out a big yell of emotion, just because I was pumped. Props to the defense for stepping up and saving [me].”

 

 

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