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Seahawks kicker Jason Myers bounces back after rough start to season

Seattle kicker Jason Myers high-fives holder Michael Dickson after Myers’ field goal during the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in Seattle.  (Getty Images)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

RENTON, Wash. – Every Monday, Jason Myers says, is the same, whether he’s missed two field goals – as he did against Detroit on Sept. 17 – or tied a Seahawks record by making five, as he did Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

“I always look at film, trying not necessarily to tweak stuff but just continue to get my feels right, get my swing right,” he said. “Just keep working, looking at my film, seeing what I’m doing, seeing what I want to fix.”

What he said he needed to fix after the Detroit game – which came after he missed a field goal in the opener against the Rams and was just 3 of 6 for the season – was being more consistent with where his foot was striking the ball.

“I was just a little bit off on contact,” he said.

He spent the week refining a few things, and when the Seahawks kept bogging down in the red zone against the Panthers, Myers was there to do his job, making kicks of 43, 35, 33, 37 and 39 yards to tie a team record that was set six times by four kickers, most recently by Stephen Hauschka against Baltimore in 2011.

It was not a personal record for Myers.

He is one of nine kickers in NFL history to make seven in a game, which is one off the record of eight held by Rob Bironas of Tennessee in 2007. Myers went 7 of 7 to lift the New York Jets to a 42-34 win over the Indianapolis Colts in 2018.

It’s that kind of history that Myers and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll lean on when the inevitable misses happen – no kicker, they know, is going to make them all.

“Just that I’ve been backing him the whole way,” Carroll said last week when asked if he’d had any conversations with Myers in the wake of his misses against the Rams (a 39-yarder off the right uptight that could have put Seattle up 16-7 at halftime) and the Lions (kicks of 45 and 56, both of which were wide left). “I’m totally in support and know that he’s going to hit the next one that we kick.”

Myers hit his next six – one against the Lions and five against the Panthers.

And in doing so, Myers continued to march his way up the Seahawks’ record books.

He has made at least one field goal in 18 consecutive games, one off Hauschka’s record in the 2015-16 seasons.

His field-goal percentage of 86.2 is third in team history behind the 88.8 of Hauschka (2011-16) and 88 of Olindo Mare (2008-10). Myers also has made 13 field goals of 50 yards or longer, two off Hauschka’s team record, doing so in 18 attempts (Hauschka was 15 of 22). And Myers is the only kicker in team history to make every kick in a season, doing so in 2020 when he hit all 24, which included a franchise-record 61-yarder.

All of that is to show why it was that Carroll had Myers’ back after the shaky start to the season.

Myers said he takes the same approach every week of every season, same as he has since breaking into the NFL with Jacksonville in 2015.

As he said Thursday, “It took me a while to get in, so I never take anything for granted.”

Myers attended Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, a member of the FCS Pioneer League, not exactly on the beaten path of NFL scouts.

After graduating in 2013, and with no offers coming, he returned to his native San Diego area and got a job as a valet while continuing to work out, hoping for any chance. He ended up kicking in the Arena Football League in 2014, around the same time he began working with Michael Husted, who kicked in the NFL with four teams from 1993-2002. Through Husted’s connections, he got invited to a kicker workout at the Senior Bowl in 2015, where he was spotted by Jacksonville and signed as a free agent.

As Myers said, “I’ve been fighting ever since.”

The road has hardly been smooth, as it is for few kickers. Myers won the job in Jacksonville in 2015, but lost it in midseason in 2017 when he began the season 11 of 15.

That led to him signing with the Seahawks as a free agent following that season to compete with Sebastian Janikowski as they looked for a new kicker in the wake of the failed one-year Blair Walsh experiment.

Janikowski won that battle, which led to Myers signing with the Jets two weeks before the season.

Illustrating his perseverance and how unpredictable NFL kicking can be, Myers responded with a season in which he became the only kicker in Jets history to make the Pro Bowl (since the merger in 1970), making 33 of 36 kicks.

He became a free agent. And when the Seahawks offered a four-year deal worth more than $15 million after Janikowski had proved that time had finally run out on his career at the age of 40, Myers jumped to come back.

“They treated me very well during that competition with (Janikowski) ,” he said. “So I had zero hard feelings about everything and how it went down.”

The Jets decided to go on the cheap, signing Chandler Catanzaro to a one-year contract worth $2.3 million.

After struggling early, Catanzaro retired before the season began, and the Jets have had seven kickers since.

Myers signed a second contract with the Seahawks last January, a four-year deal worth up to $21.2 million in the wake of a season in which he made the Pro Bowl and led the NFL in scoring with 143 points.

On Sunday, he renewed the faith the team had never lost.

“What a great bounce back,” Carroll said. “That was something else. This was him.”

Myers knows he’s only as good as his last game – and his next one.

“Nah,” he said when asked if his record-setting day against the Panthers gave him any renewed validation. “I’m always working. I get up on Monday and start watching the film. Get the workouts in and try to do better that week than I did the week before. That’s always my mindset.”