On Saturday of wild-card weekend, the Jets found themselves down two points with 53 seconds left against the hated Colts. A big return by Antonio Cromartie(notes) and then some great passes by Mark Sanchez(notes) left kicker Nick Folk(notes) with a 32-yarder to advance. He drilled it, the Jets won, and now Folk sat down to chat with Shutdown Corner about what was going on in his head during that final stretch.
Bacon: You're on the sideline, you're moving the kicking net around, are you watching how they're progressing down the field to know the distance you're going to kick or is it just about warming up and getting ready to kick wherever they end up with the ball?
Folk: I went to the net as soon as [the Colts] got close to field-goal range, because I knew we had some timeouts, and when we started to call some timeouts I figured we were going to stop the clock and get a chance to get after it again. So, once they got to third down, I went over to the net, I hit one ball, and then saw [Colts kicker Adam] Vinatieri make it, and thought, "We need a big kick return to help us start the drive," and we got that, we got a real big kick return with Cro who made a big play.
I then told the coaches we needed about 20 more yards for me to be in a comfortable range, so I'm hitting a few balls, hit three or four more to stay loose, and as soon as Santonio caught the ball for the first down, I put everything up and I was prepared to kick a long one because we had ran the ball the play before. Then, Mark made a great call hitting Braylon on the sidelines to get us closer.
SB: So it isn't one of those things that you're paying attention to what they're doing, but when he throws that pass, your mentality changes, right, because the distance is totally different?
NF: I was preparing for that, because we had ran the ball, so I was preparing for [a long kick], and I knew I was in range, we were inside, and we had a good day kicking up here. I knew I felt comfortable kicking that range in a dome, but we ended up getting a little closer. Then my mentality changed. We ran the clock down to three seconds, and that's when it was like, "OK, it's a little shorter, just try to make it look like an extra point," and that's what I did.
SB: Now, I've seen you kick a lot in my life, and your reaction was as excited as I've ever seen on the football field. Is that just a relief thing?
NF: [Laughs] It was just one of those kicks that I knew was a big kick for us, and we needed it to win, and to help this team win. I hadn't done much all day, I had a couple of kickoffs and a couple of extra points, but it was good, and it was fun, we had a good time, and I was just trying to have some fun with it.
SB: Do you think that's the biggest kick you've had to date in your career?
NF: Oh yeah. The one in Buffalo [when he kicked for the Cowboys in 2007] was pretty big because we had to do it back-to-back and then we had the couple this [season] in Detroit, but there was nothing with this pressure where the season would end without the kick going through. It was fun, man, it was a good time.
SB: I know you're focused and you're in a place where you're just trying to make a kick. Does that stuff sneak in your head at all, like "If this doesn't go in, the season is over"?
NF: It probably does, but I haven't thought about it. I try not to think about it, and when I'm warming up I'm thinking, "Try to make it look like every other kick I had today," or when I was kicking that day, and I'd kicked a couple of extra points that were right down the middle, and I was thinking, "Just kick it like an extra point," and I kept telling myself "extra point, extra point" and went out there and tried to make it nice and smooth and it was good.
SB: And obviously everyone knows Rex Ryan is a character. Did he tell you anything funny back in the locker room after you made the kick?
NF: Oh not really, he was just pumped like everyone, especially for him, because he'd finally got Peyton Manning(notes) and the defense played really well, especially only letting them get one touchdown.
SB: Now, next week against the Patriots, do you need us to send you a shovel for your game against New England in case it snows?
NF: [Laughs] I'm hoping we get a heat wave, man, I'm hoping for a heat wave.