The LA Rams have two “Matthew”s who are putting points on the scoreboard. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has put up 114 points with 19 touchdown passes. Placekicker Matt Gay has put up 61 points with 13 field goals and 22 extra points.
So what, you ask? Well, the fact is that the indomitable kicking of Matt Gay has the LA Rams rolling right along. So far this season, he has missed just one field goal and just one extra point.
Not all special teams units are created equally. So far this season, that most certainly applies to the LA Rams. You see, special teams are the NFL equivalent category of miscellaneous or ‘all other’ and include punting, kickoffs, field goal kicking, kickoff coverages, punt coverages, and field goal defending.
So you can see how a team that may be very good at punting may not be equally effective at covering kickoffs.
The LA Rams know this all too well. You see, the team launched a rather impressive manhunt in 2020 to find a suitable kicker after long-time placekicker Greg Zuerlein opted to sign on with the Dallas Cowboys. The Rams auditioned three kickers in training camp, brought in another after the season had started, and finally brought in one more after that. After half the season was over, the team finally found their kicker. But the months-long search had already taken a toll on the Rams season.
Before Matt Gay came along, the combined kicking of Sam Sloman and Kai Forbath combined for 10 of 14 field goals (one of four at a distance of 40+ yards) and 22 of 26 on extra points. Matt Gay arrived and was 14 of 16 on field goals (seven of eight at a distance of 40+ yards) and 16 of 16 on extra points.
Trusting a placekicker is a given in the NFL until it no longer is. Then, every field goal attempt becomes a white-knuckler silent prayer hoping that the football finds its way off the kicker’s foot through the uprights.
The LA Rams need to improve their coverage units. But the field goal unit is in good hands. Or perhaps good feet? In any case, Matt Gay is handling the kicking duties for the Rams now. And if you don’t fret when the field goal unit comes onto the football field, then Matt Gay is doing his job.