Detroit Lions’ Matt Prater: Passing on 58-yard FG vs. Cards ‘was the right call, for sure’

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
 
| Detroit Free Press

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — Detroit Lions kicker Matt Prater is not one to turn down field goal attempts, but even the veteran kicker said Matt Patricia’s decision to pass on a 58-yard try early in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win over the Arizona Cardinals was the right thing to do.

“We won so it was the right call, for sure,” Prater said. “I love to kick the long ones, but the way the game was going, our defense was playing well and Jack (Fox) pinned them down I think at the 2, so I think it was definitely the right call.”

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Trailing 23-20 after Arizona scored on the previous possession, the Lions sent Prater and their field goal unit on for a would-be 58-yard try on fourth-and-6 with 12:08 left in the game.

The formation was intended to try and draw the Cardinals offsides, and when that did not work the Lions took a delay-of-game penalty and sent Fox on to punt.

Fox nailed his kick, pinning the Cardinals at their own 2-yard line. Arizona went three-and-out, and the Lions had favorable field position on their next possession, when Prater tied the game with a 35-yard field goal.

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Prater entered Sunday 0 for 2 on kicks of 50-plus yards, but he said he did not view Patricia’s decision to pass on another long try as a lack of confidence in his leg. He missed a 55-yard field goal wide right in the fourth quarter of Lions’ season-opening loss to the Chicago Bears, and the Bears used the field position advantage they gained from that miss to start their comeback.

“Jack had a huge punt,” Prater said. “He punted awesome all day. He’s been killing it. So, no, it was definitely the right call. Longer kick, lower percentage, so I wasn’t surprised that we opted to punt it.”

Prater made all four of his field goal tries Sunday, kicks of 37, 24, 35 and 39 yards, with the final kick sailing through the uprights as time expired to give the Lions (1-2) their first victory of the season.

“I expect to make it, but I honestly don’t know what happens to me after a game-winner because everybody goes so crazy,” Prater said. “I kind of black out. I usually say a bunch of things, I don’t know what I’m saying, and just head butt Jack and Mule (Don Muhlbach) and celebrate with everybody. It’s fun.”

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Lions content. 

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