EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The life of an NFL kicker can be rough.
In one play, a kicker can instantly become either a game's hero, or its scapegoat. The past few weeks have difficult for Alex Henery, who missed a field goal attempt in each of the Eagles' previous three games. That all changed on Sunday, as Henery was perfect on the afternoon, setting a new career best with five made field goals. It just so happened that those five kicks ended up being the difference in the Eagles' 36-21 win over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.
During the Eagles' recent three-game losing streak, Henery had become an easy target for fans to criticize. After having two of the most accurate seasons in franchise history in his first two seasons, Henery uncharacteristically missed three field goals in three games. Throughout the past week, Henery said that he was going to work through the tough times and get back on track, and that's exactly what he did on Sunday. Henery hit all five of his field goal attempts (from 40, 27, 29, 36 and 41 yards, respectively), was perfect on extra point attempts and kicked five touchbacks on eight attempts.
"It felt really good just to have a good game and hit some field goals," said Henery. "It felt good because I knew that it was coming and I just kept working and pushing through it and it turned out well today."
In the days preceding Sunday's game, Henery explained that special teams coach Dave Fipp had noticed a slight flaw in his kicking motion. Henery compared it to a golfer who was swinging too fast and pulling his head off of the ball too quickly. Against the Giants, the Nebraska product was able to slow down his approach to the ball and deliver when his team needed him.
"Coach Fipp was the one that brought that up, and it did miracles, I guess," said Henery. "I was seeing the ball really well today. It wasn't changing a big thing. It was just a little thing that we were off on and I hit them all today, so I was happy about that."
Chip Kelly has been asked multiple times recently about the confidence that he has in his kicker, and his answer was always the same. The Eagles' head coach believed in Henery through and through, and Henery believes that confidence goes a long way.
"That definitely helps if someone gets up and stands up for you, but Chip is great at that," Henery said. "He stands up for all of the guys. Even though I've been struggling the last few weeks, he was right there for me. I had a good one today and now it's not worrying about this last game, it's moving on to the next one. It's just about putting together good weeks and moving on from there."
Though the Eagles scored 36 points in Sunday's divisional win, they struggled again at finishing off their drives with touchdowns. Whenever the Eagles couldn't find a way to get seven, Henery made sure that he was able to put three points up on the board in the winning effort. The Eagles moved to 2-0 against the NFC East, and Henery bounced back into form, making it a great all-around game for the Eagles' kicker.
"I thought it was a great day," Henery said with a smile on his face. "I was hitting field goals well and kickoffs well so I was happy with that and you take any day like that as a win."
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