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Rian Lindell reviews bizarre game for both kickers

By Tim Graham

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Sunday afternoon in University of Phoenix Stadium was a fascinating time to be a kicker.

Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely, who made a pair of 49-yard field goals earlier, set a club record with a 61-yard field goal to tie the game with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter. Feely then clanked a 38-yard attempt off the left upright as time expired because Bills lineman Alex Carrington deflected the ball.

In overtime, the Buffalo Bills elected not to try a 53-yard field goal on the opening series, choosing to punt instead. Then a Jairus Byrd interception set up Rian Lindell's 25-yarder to beat the Cardinals 19-16 in sudden death.

With so much to mull, I spent some time at Lindell's locker after the game.

Buffalo News: What was your reaction when the Bills decided to punt in overtime rather than try the field goal?

Rian Lindell: Well, that doesn't end it [because of overtime rules that guarantee a possession if the team that wins the toss scores a field goal on the first series]. So I figured that played into it, but they don't pay me to think. They pay me to kick the field goals when they say, "Field goal."

BN: Were you consulted before the decision?

RL: No, and quite frankly I don't really want them to because even if I'm having the worst day of my life I'm not going to say, "No." You can't. You'll always say, "Yes." But I felt I was kicking the ball well today. They went with the punt, and it worked out.

BN: How disappointed were you when they chose to punt?

RL: It just doesn't do me any good to storm around. I want them all. Absolutely, I want them all. I wanted to try that 55-yarder last week [in San Francisco], but I didn't get it. I'm not good enough to think of too many other things than just the next kick.

BN: What are you thinking when Feely's lining up to kick the 61-yarder?

RL: I know he hit the 49s good. I thought the odds were against him, but he hits his kickoffs pretty well. I hoped we'd get a hand on it, I guess. But I thought he could make it.

With kickers anymore, it's almost like the 60s are turning into the old 50s, really. It's like the 50s are expected. People make them all the time. Geez, he made those two 49s like nothing. Kicking has changed.

BN: When he's lining up for the 38-yarder, knowing he'd just made his career-best field goal, what are you thinking?

RL: He was feeling pretty good, so I thought, "Well, this is probably going to be it." I thought they were going to run another play with 35 seconds on the clock [the Cardinals drained the time and then spiked it]. Sometimes that gets you. But certainly with the way he was kicking the ball -- two 49s and a 61 -- you figure he's going to make it. But credit to our guys. Alex got a hand on it.

BN: Given what's happened the past two weeks and how much you needed a win, how does kicking this field goal compare to the one you made to end New England's streak over you last year?

RL: They're all big. That's the cliché. And it's nice to win on the road, with the way the last two weeks have gone. This gives you a shot in the arm of confidence. It's certainly nice to get this one.

BN: Not bad for your third field goal of the season all the way in Week Six, huh?

RL: I know. That's weird, isn't it?

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |