Newcomer Harrison Butker gives Chiefs leg up on Redskins

Late field goal sends Kansas City to 29-20 victory

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Harrison Butker didn’t have butterflies. But he felt the pressure as he stepped onto the field to attempt a game-winning 43-yard field goal in his NFL debut.

 

Butker, however, also had some insight, courtesy of his missed field goal right before halftime.

“I think everything happens for a reason,” Butker said. “I missed that kick, came back. I was more experienced going that way, more experienced with the wind.”

At game time, Butker was kicking with a 14 mph wind from the south/southeast. The first attempt of his NFL career — a 46-yarder — to the west end zone sailed wide left. But about an hour and a half later, Butker found himself looking into the west end zone again with the score tied and the game on the line.

This time Butker hammered the football through the uprights to give the Chiefs the lead, a game-winner although Justin Houston returned a fumble on the ensuing kickoff to give the Chiefs a 29-20 victory against the Washington Redskins on Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium.

“The first kick of the night was down the middle and I missed it left,” Butker said. “Looking back now it was probably a good thing I missed. I was used to the wind. I knew the ball was going to move and that allowed me to aim right down the middle on the second kick.”

Butker, who was signed off Carolina’s practice squad last Tuesday after the Chiefs placed Cairo Santos on injured reserve, made 3 of 4 field goals and both of his extra points. Butker hit a game-winner while at Georgia Tech in 2014 but it was only 26 yards. So this one was extra special.

“That was my first long, field goal for a game-winner,” Butker said with a smile. “They froze me and then I was able to kick the ball and I think that was able to help me to get a practice kick.”

Butker got a call from the Chiefs last Monday evening and he was soon on a plane bound for Kansas City. He came in Tuesday and worked with punter Dustin Colquitt and kicked in practice Wednesday and Thursday before taking Friday and Saturday off. Then on Saturday, the Chiefs waived Santos and essentially pinned their hopes on Butker.

“It feels great,” Butker said of his game-winner. “I aimed for the middle with the wind, and it went down the middle. I think it went down the middle. I don’t know. I just turned around and started running.”

Prior to the kick, Chiefs coach Andy Reid had a good feeling about sending Butker out to hit the game-winner.

“He gives you that feeling that everything’s OK,” Reid said.

That proved to be the case as After his first kick missed, Butker could have wilted. But Kareem Hunt, who fumbled the ball on his first carry in the pros, wouldn’t let him. So when Butker lined up for his final attempt, Hunt thought the kick was going to be good.

“I had a lot of confidence in him,” said Hunt, who rushed 21 times for 101 yards. “He has a leg. He’s tall, a long kid. We knew not to get down on him. Your first kick at Arrowhead, that’s tough. He was able to overcome it and keep fighting.”

Butker’s kick also kept the Chiefs undefeated at 4-0 and no doubt made him an immediate fan favorite thanks to a perfect ending.

“It was awesome,” Butker said. “What a way to start it.”

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