If Thursday’s Thanksgiving game against the Cowboys comes down to a late field-goal attempt by the Raiders’ Sebastian Janikowksi, Bay Area fans won’t have to hide their eyes.
Even though the usually reliable Janikowski missed two makable field-goal tries this past Sunday in a loss to the Titans – that ultimately proved the difference between winning and losing – the Raiders’ veteran kicker now says he’s all good. There’s no longer any reason for concern.
Janikowski told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Vic Tafur that he spent 2½ hours Monday watching film of all his kicks this season and last and now has the problem pinpointed.
“It seems like my steps are off to the side and I am too wide,” he told Tafur. “My plant food is way ahead, and I am not finishing.”
This season, Janikowski has a success rate of 68.2 percent, far below the 80 percent rate for his 14-year career. Last season Janikowski was successful on 91.2 percent of his kicks (31-of-34), and over the past two seasons he had missed only seven kicks total – the same number of misses he has this season in 11 games.
After Sunday’s loss to the Titans, it was believed that holder Marquette King may have been the culprit because Janikowski had indicated to radio sideline reporter (and former teammate) Lincoln Kennedy during the game that the hold was bad on one of his misses. King is in his first year as the holder for Janikowski, and there were issues in training camp and exhibition games with King’s holds.
Now, however, Janikowski told Tafur “there is no issue at all" with King’s work. Of the one miss he had been reported to have attributed to a bad hold, Janikowski told Tafur, “I just pushed it.”
The Raiders kicker says there is no issue with King, and he’s doing a “great job.”
Earlier this season, in fact, after Janikowski made 47- and 50-yard field goals in a victory over the Chargers, King brought balloons and placed them at the kicker’s locker the next day in celebration.
King told Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com at the time that “SeaBass is loving me” and they were in sync.
“You can tell he’s much more comfortable with me now,” King said. “You can tell by the way he looks at me.”
Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said Monday that there isn’t necessarily an issue between Janikowski and King – but things have to get better.
“I would say when we go out there to kick field goals, we have to make field goals,” he told reporters. “We obviously have to do a better job.”
The Raiders (4-7) take on the host Cowboys (6-5) at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.