After a resounding victory over the NFC-leading Atlanta Falcons, one Eagles player left Lincoln Financial Field with a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach. The almost-always reliable David Akers, one of the most consistent kickers in NFL history, had a day he'll want to forget. For the first time in his career, Akers missed three field goals, two of which were from less than 40 yards out.
"It was windy, but it's always windy here," Akers said after the game. "I'm better than that. I let the team down, but thank goodness it didn't affect the outcome of the game.
"I have never had a day like (Sunday) before. It's frustrating."
The kicking game is one of the most mysterious aspects of an NFL team. For no discernable reason, all of a sudden, a kicker can lose confidence and struggle on the field. But Akers' problem is not confidence, it was just an off day. Well, that and perhaps some swirling wind in the south end zone. Even the Falcons kicker Matt Bryant missed a field goal into that end zone.
"I think it's a kick-to-kick thing," Akers said. "It was a bad day. I am down on myself because I expect to kick at a high level. I demand better out of myself and my teammates should demand better out of me. I am just thrilled that Kevin (Kolb) played so well out there as quarterback. A lot of other guys played extremely well and my misses didn't end up costing us the game."
Akers did wear a pink Reebok cleat as part of the NFL's campaign to raise awareness of breast cancer during the month of October. Akers did switch out his pink cleat for his normal kicking cleat on the fourth and final field goal attempt, which was a successful 30-yard try. Akers said after the game that it was the person wearing the shoe, not the shoe itself, that was the reason for the missed opportunities.
Some kickers can be counted on, and some cannot. Akers has earned the reputation of being the former. He had converted six of seven field goals entering Sunday's game, and has a career field goal percentage of 81 percent. The four-time Pro Bowl kicker is not only the franchise leader in points scored (1,219), but he led the entire NFL in points scored during the 2000s. He was, after all, the kicker on the All-Decade team.
It's that type of production and consistency that allows a head coach to shrug off a three-miss day.
"That was a freak thing," said Andy Reid following Sunday's game. "That doesn't happen to David. That's why I came back, we kicked it, and he made it. The chances of him missing three field goals are crazy. He's too good for that."
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 11:45 a.m., October 18