It was not only the Cardinals perfect record that was put to an end during their loss to the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night. Jay Feely's perfect season also came crashing down when he missed a very makable 40 yard field goal late in the second quarter.
Feely's miss was almost unfathomably costly.
The game would certainly have had a very different feel at 7-6 coming out of the half. Worse still, the missed field goal early in the game robbed Feely of a shot of redemption later.
Playing from behind as they were, the Cardinals were forced to attempt not one, but two fourth down attempts in the red zone later in the game, both of which failed. Both attempts would have been practicality gimme's for Feely had the game been a little closer.
Now, Feely has an unusually long wait before his next game. He has already been forced to face two days of scrutiny, and still has more than a full week to allow the miss to play on his mind.
Feely has never had the biggest leg, so a 40 yarder was never a given, but he has made multiple longer kicks this season already, and had to feel like the miss was a huge blow to the Cardinals hopes against the Rams. It was certainly a turning point in the game.
To add insult to (proverbial) injury, Feely has also been handed a $7,875 fine for unnecessary roughness during the Dolphins game. The fine was the result of a hit in the back on the second half kickoff. Kickers, like any defensive players, are allowed to hit players as they attempt to prevent kick returns. Feely, who has never been afraid of getting his hands dirty did just that.
However, as the ball sailed out of the end zone for a touchback, Feely was flagged for unnecessary roughness. His appeals, that he did not know that the ball kick was going for a touchback—a legitimate claim, as few of his kicks are ever long enough to do so—fell on deaf ears, and the fine was levied against him by the NFL yesterday.
He's been around the league for a while now, so it's hard to imagine either of these things unsettling him too badly, but we've all seen dependable kickers turn to jelly following a single miss, and their confidence shaken following a single mistake, if they allow it to get to them—take Billy Cundiff this season, for example.
Whatever the case, we've all got an unusually long wait to see if Feely rebounds.