Rams' Zuerlein can't wait for Sunday
ST. LOUIS (AP)
The rookie made his first 15 field goal attempts this season, including a franchise-record 60-yarder, before missing three in a row last Sunday in a 17-14 loss at Miami.
Zuerlein, who failed to connect from 37, 52 and 66 yards, took blame for the defeat, saying that he simply, ''didn't do my job and it cost us the game.''
The week has gone by slowly for the high-energy Zuerlein, who can't wait to redeem himself against the Green Bay Packers.
''You try and put it behind you and forget about it,'' Zuerlein said. ''Or else it might harm you in the future. You really want to get back on the field as quick as you can. You want to show everyone that you can bounce back.''
The hottest kicker in the NFL has no reason to sulk. His string of 15 in a row to start his career fell one shy of the NFL record set by Garrett Hartley of New Orleans in 2008-09.
Zuerlein even makes noise when he fails. He had the distance, but missed wide left on what would have been a league-record 66-yarder as time expired against the Dolphins. Zuerlein's kick hit the net guarding the playing field, clearing the end line by at least 5 yards.
''I really thought I could make that kick,'' he said. ''All of those kicks were makeable. I just didn't do it.''
Zuerlein was drafted in the sixth round after a stellar career at the Nebraska-Omaha and Missouri Western. He hit 21 in a row his senior year at Missouri Western, including nine from 50 yards or farther.
The Omaha native came out firing this season. He set a Soldier Field record with a 56-yarder in a 23-6 loss to Chicago on Sept. 22. A week later, he went 4 for 4 and twice set a franchise record for longest field goal with kicks of 58 and 60 yards in a 19-13 win over Seattle. He became the first NFL player to hit on attempts of 50-plus and 60 yards in the same game.
Still, he remains haunted by the failures against Miami.
''You never totally get over it,'' Zuerlein said. ''When you are sure that you can make those kicks and you don't, it's not a good feeling.''
Zuerlein, now 15 for 18, says he was ready to make amends for the misses seconds after Sunday's contest ended. He has had a good week in practice and is champing at the bit.
St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher likes that Zuerlein has such high standards.
''He's taken responsibility for it, but he's not taking it hard,'' Fisher said.
The 24-year-old has excelled in all facets of the kicking game. Of his 29 kickoffs, 17 have been touchbacks.
Zuerlein says he made a 74-yarder in practice during college. He has his sights set on the NFL record of 63 held by Tom Dempsey, Jason Elam, Sebastian Janikowski and David Akers.
''I knew I could kick in this league,'' Zuerlein said. ''It was just a matter of getting the opportunity.''
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