No-good, very bad kicking days cost Cleveland, Minnesota

Let’s talk about bad days at work. The record-label exec who passed on the Beatles back in the ’60s because he thought “guitar groups are on the way out”? Bad day. The security guard who thought it would be a good idea to bring the Trojan Horse inside the gates of his soon-to-be-burned city? Bad day. Zane Gonzalez, who kicked Cleveland right out of its first win in nearly two years? Daniel Carlson, who couldn’t kick Minnesota to a crucial division win? Really, really bad days.

A kick in the teeth

Look, I don’t care what team you root for, you’ve got to feel a bit bad for Gonzalez and Carlson. Let’s review.

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The Browns lost a heartbreaker to the New Orleans Saints 21-18, due in large part to Gonzalez’s inaccuracy. Two for four on field goals, zero for two on extra points. Gonzalez had the chance to put Cleveland ahead with 1:16 left in the game, and missed. Then he had the opportunity to hit a 44-yarder to tie the game at 21 and, yep, missed.

• The Vikings and Packers ended up tied at 29, largely because Carlson couldn’t make a kick all day. He missed a 48-yarder just before halftime, missed a 49-yarder in overtime that would have put Minnesota ahead, and then missed a 35-yarder as overtime expired that would have won the game. Ouch.

• Just for the record: Mason Crosby of Green Bay had a chance to win the game against Minnesota in regulation, but missed a 52-yarder.

It’s a long, lonely walk off the field after you miss. (Getty)
It’s a long, lonely walk off the field after you miss. (Getty)

Some support, much more heat

The kickers (and their coaches) got some support on Twitter. As former Brown Joe Thomas noted, Browns coach Hue Jackson did the right thing by not ripping Gonzalez a new one for the second missed extra point … even though it didn’t pay off:


And the one man who could understand better than anyone how Gonzalez was feeling, Saints kicker Wil Lutz, consoled him after the game:


Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer tried to be philosophical. “We missed a chip shot field goal,” he said, “so … that’s life,” adding, ominously, “Guys are supposed to do their job.”

On the Cleveland side of things, Jackson didn’t sound like Gonzalez was gone immediately. “He missed them,” Jackson said of the field goals. “He’s got work to do. Gotta get better.”

Can’t get much worse, right?

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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