Matt Gay has quietly been one of the NFL’s best kickers since joining the Rams

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  • Los Angeles Rams
    Los Angeles Rams
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  • Matt Gay
    Matt Gay
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  • Sam Sloman
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For the first half of last season, it looked like the Rams would cycle through kickers on a near-weekly basis after letting Greg Zuerlein walk in free agency. They tried Sam Sloman at first after he beat out Lirim Hajrullahu and Austin MacGinnis in training camp. When Sloman missed six of his first 32 kicks, the Rams gave Kai Forbath a shot, but he then proceeded to miss two of his first eight attempts, showing no signs of improvement over Sloman.

Finally, the Rams landed on Matt Gay, who they signed just prior to Week 11 against the Buccaneers. He contributed immediately by hitting a game-winning 40-yard field goal against his former team, and he’s done nothing but prove his value to the Rams ever since.

Very quietly, Gay has turned out to be one of the best kickers in football – and no, that’s not hyperbole.

Since arriving in L.A. midway through last season, Gay has made 37 of his 40 field goal attempts and 51 of 52 extra point tries. Combined, that’s a conversion rate of 95.7%, which is obviously quite impressive.

He’s been rock solid all year in 2021, making 23 of his 24 field goal attempts and 35 of 36 PATs. His 95.8 field goal percentage ranks second in the NFL, behind only Chris Boswell; he’s made 24 of his 25 field goal attempts. It’s not as if Gay is only hitting chip-shot field goals, either.

He’s 2-for-2 on attempts of 50-plus yards and 6-for-7 on kicks from 40-49 yards, so in total, he’s made 8 of 9 attempts of 40-plus yards – which is the most important range for any kicker. He was just as good on those attempts last year, too, going 7-for-8 from 40-plus yards.

Among kickers with at least 10 attempts of at least 40 yards since the start of last season, Gay ranks third with an accuracy rate of 88.2%. Only Boswell (91.7%) and Cody Parkey (90.9%) have been better than Gay in the last two years.

Overall, his 92.5 field goal percentage is third among all kickers since 2020, so he’s been one of the most accurate players from any distance.

The Rams’ special teams has been an absolute mess this season, but Gay has been the saving grace the last two years. He not only solved Los Angeles’ kicking woes following Zuerlein’s departure, but he’s been the only bright spot on the entire special teams unit since 2020.

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