Third time’s a charm: LA Rams K Matt Gay boots game-winner on MNF

Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

The third time’s a charm? The LA Rams get a game-winner out of the third kicker this season in newly signed K Gay

The LA Rams have been searching for a replacement for former kicker Greg Zuerlein since he up and signed with the disappointing Dallas Cowboys. They drafted kicker Sam Sloman, whose kicking style created low trajectory on the football, and the opposing team learned how easy it was to block those kicks. The team tried former Cowboys’ kicker Kai Forbath, but he fell to an ankle injury after just two games.

So the Rams tried once more, this time signing up former Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Matt Gayu. Not only that, but the team has an ace in the hole. The team signed former tryout kicker Austin MacGinnis to the practice squad previously as well.

Kicker competition

Two kickers. One more kicking competition. What could be the harm in that? Well, it felt rather familiar. After all, the Rams had a three-way kickoff before the season to determine their starting kicker. When that failed to pan out, the Rams tried it again with a two-way kickoff. We will never know how that might have turned out, other than an ankle injury to Kai Forbath.  That led to this third and hopefully final kickoff. This time, the victor was former Bucs kicker Matt Gay.

Many fans long for the glory days of former kicker Greg Zuerlein. But not even Greg The Leg is as good as his former self.  While he is perfect from 49 yards and closer, he is only one of four at 50 plus yards. Plus he has missed three extra points.  So bringing back Zuerlein would not give the results that the team might expect. So how did Gay do in his first outing?

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Game winner

Well, the Rams created six scoring opportunities for their newly signed kicker, and he successfully executed on five of the six. He was a perfect three for three on extra points, and two of three on field-goal attempts. The lone miss was a 44-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter which would have given the Rams a lead.

The Rams did manage to score twice after the miss.  The first time was a touchdown reception by rookie running back Cam Akers (his first). After the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tied it up, the Rams newly signed Matt Gay kicked a 40-yard game-winning field goal with just 2:36 remaining on the game clock.


While it may not come as a major improvement, in many ways, this is. The LA Rams simply could not count on special teams in 2019. The Rams either surrendered a game-winning field goal or missed a potential game-tying or winning field goal on multiple occasions. That was the story of 2019. Hopes dashed to deep disappointment.  But in the end, the difference was a kick here, a missed kick there.

The kick against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was more than just a three-point effort. It was a sign of a long-standing tide turning in the LA Rams favor. In a game against evenly matched teams, on the road, it was the Rams who emerged with a victory thanks to a game-winning field goal in the closing minutes. No, it was not the only highlight of the game. And yes, the heroics of rookies Van Jefferson, Cam Akers, and Jordan Fuller were monumental.  The Rams achieved 275 yards of offense through the hands of Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp.

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But if I had to pick a pivotal moment, it would be the kick from Matt Gay’s foot late in the fourth quarter as the moment that 2020 seemed to be where the Rams flipped the switch. The team won a game that would have been a loss in 2019.  Just three points? Yes. But thanks to Gay’s winning kick, the Rams are winning close games once more.