Once more, with feeling.
Cairo Santos, new kicker for the Rams, could have been the goat Sunday with his badly missed extra-point try early in the fourth quarter at Seattle. That left Los Angeles trailing 31-30.
But Santos atoned for that mistake by drilling a 39-yard field goal on the Rams’ next possession, giving them a 33-31 lead they would not surrender.
For Santos, signed five days earlier, it was an essential display of confidence from his coach.
“It was a blessing to get another opportunity in the same game to redeem myself,” he said after Sunday’s victory. “Sometimes, you don’t get that chance and you have to go a whole ’nother week thinking about it and wanting the opportunity. This team is so special in the way that everybody had my back. I didn’t see a look in anybody’s face of disbelief in me.”
The Rams are awaiting the return of All-Pro kicker Greg Zuerlein, who has sat out all but the opener because of a groin injury.
The team turned to Santos after releasing Sam Ficken, who missed two of his three field-goal attempts in the previous two games.
There had been talk that Zuerlein might return for the Seattle game, so it’s entirely possible he could be back Sunday in Denver.
Santos, who is from Brazil, played for Kansas City from 2014 until early last season when he suffered a groin injury. He made 89 of 105 field-goal tries during that span. He signed with Chicago near the end of last season but again suffered a groin injury. He spent part of the summer in training camp with the New York Jets.
Sunday was a rough day for some kickers around the NFL, most notably Green Bay fixture Mason Crosby, who missed four field-goal tries and an extra-point attempt in the Packers’ 31-23 loss to Detroit.
According to ESPN, Crosby became the first NFL kicker to miss four field-goal tries and an extra-point attempt in the same game since Rolf Benirschke of the San Diego Chargers in 1980.
“Well, obviously shocked; it's never happened to me,” Crosby said. “That's never happened to me. It doesn’t happen. So I’m going to evaluate it but I’m going to [chalk] it up to something that is an anomaly in life that I’ve never even been a part of. So I’m going to evaluate the details like I do every week and move on. Because that one for me is something that I’ve never been a part of and hope to never be part of again.”
Clearly, Santos’ day was nothing like that. He had a hiccup, albeit one that could have been costly. His rebound Sunday won praise from teammates.