Dawson not counting as field goals keep going in
As Phil Dawson headed out to try a 48-yard field goal late in
the first quarter Sunday, an image came to him of a Week 1 miss.
From that very distance and that very spot in his first attempt
with the 49ers.
He had a hard time pushing that moment out of mind, a kick that
he hooked wide left in his San Francisco debut in September against
Probably not the best kicking karma right there.
”As I’m jogging out onto the field I’m remembering that,”
Dawson recalled. ”I have to be quite honest it probably wasn’t the
most positive mental picture in terms of having confidence where to
aim. I took what I learned from that first time and tried to put it
into action. It worked out.”
The field goal was Dawson’s second of four against the rival
Seattle Seahawks, and every one mattered in Sunday’s 19-17 victory
that put the 49ers at 9-4. The 48-yarder gave Dawson 18 straight
converted field goals to match a franchise record by Joe Nedney in
2006-07, then Dawson connected on two more to take the record for
himself. His 22-yarder with 26 seconds remaining became the winner
and No. 20 in a row.
Not that Dawson is counting – or even worries about such
”I have a lot of respect for the way he works at his craft,”
said 49ers special teams coach Brad Seely, who also worked with
Dawson in Cleveland. ”He’s been good for a long time in a really
hard place to kick. I knew if he came out here he would have
success because where he’s been kicking for years, it’s a hard
place. But they didn’t have much success as a team, so you didn’t
ever hear much about him. He’s been probably the best player on
that team in Cleveland for a long time.”
Dawson also holds the Browns’ record for consecutive field goals
with 27, making him one of just three kickers with such a streak
for two teams. Olindo Mare did it with Miami and Seattle, while
Neil Rackers accomplished it playing for Arizona and Houston,
according to STATS.
Dawson is on quite the roll as he heads home to his native
Florida for Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay (4-9).
”That’s what I hear,” Dawson said with a smile. ”I’ve been
through this and learn each time I go through it. You just have to
treat every kick the same, whether you made the last one or missed
the last one. Sometimes I don’t know which one’s harder to get over
to be quite honest.”
Dawson has made 23 of 26 field goals overall, giving the 49ers a
steady presence in the kicking game after David Akers struggled
down the stretch a year ago.
Dawson doesn’t take any kick for granted, especially in the
unpredictable elements of Candlestick Park and its infamous
”With the conditions being what they were, every kick required
your full attention. You couldn’t take anything for granted, even
with the last one being a little short one. Everything had to go
right and fortunately it did.”
Dawson went 29 for 31 on field goals last season in his 14th
year with the Browns, making all 13 attempts from 40 yards or
beyond, including 7 for 7 from 50-plus.
The 49ers signed him to a one-year contract in March.
Even punter Andy Lee, who holds for Dawson, didn’t expect him to
be this spot-on down the stretch – especially at Candlestick.
”I knew he was a solid kicker. I don’t think you expect any
kicker to make 20 in a row,” Lee said. ”I knew he was going to be
a great asset to the team, and I knew he was going to come in and
do a great job here. To hit 20 in a row, would you say that exceeds
the expectations? Yeah. That’s not normal. Especially here, and we
haven’t had the best conditions other places either.”
And, if Dawson gets his way, the 49ers will still be playing
past his 39th birthday on Jan. 23.
”Phil works on the days he doesn’t have to,” linebacker
NaVorro Bowman said. ”That’s what makes players great. He was
perfect. We needed him. The game came down to him and he stepped
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