After Giorgio Tavechhio made a brilliant debut with the Raiders in Week 1 of this season he was sky high.
The 27-year-old had participated in six NFL training camps since 2012, yet had never kicked in a regular-season game. Then, in his first regular-season game for the Raiders in September, a 26-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans, Tavecchio received a game ball for kicking four field goals in four attempts – including two from 50 or more yards – and both extra-point tries to account for 14 points.
It looked like he again would be cut at the end of training camp, but then Sebastian Janikowski was placed on injured reserve just before the opening game, and Tavecchio made the roster.
“I have been dreaming about this moment for a very long time,” Tavecchio said after that first game. “It is special. I am feeling gratitude, catharsis. You spend so much time waiting, hoping, imagining, dreaming.”
For the most part, Tavecchio has been solid this season. Yet his failures have been costly, too. In the loss to the Cowboys this past Sunday night, for instance, he missed a 39-yard field-goal try just before halftime that proved costly in a 20-17 loss.
He thought the kick was good when it left his foot, but then it stayed wide left.
This season, Tavecchio has missed four of his 18 field-goal attempts, a 77.8 percent success rate below the career 80.4 percent rate of Janikowski in his long career in Oakland. Last year, Janikowski made 29-of-35 (82.9 percent).
Tavecchio’s misses, as documented by Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com, have come from 53, 45, 35 and 39 yards (the 53-yarder was blocked).
He said this week that he has had to learn to “roll with the punches” and keep focusing on his next game and his next kick.
Said Tavecchio: “With kicking, you just kind of go through these slight ebbs. So I’m just going to keep working this week, continue to focus on the process and I need to perform.”
He’ll get his next opportunity on Christmas night, when the 6-8 Raiders take on the 12-2 Philadelphia Eagles. Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m.