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Once again, Chan Gailey shows no faith in Rian Lindell from 50-plus

By Tim Graham

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rian Lindell has distance envy.

The most accurate kicker in Buffalo Bills history sees other NFL teams try 50- and 60-yard field goals rather routinely. He hasn't been allowed to try one over 50 yards since Halloween 2010.

For the second time in six games, Bills coach Chan Gailey declined to try a field goal from a distance that's quite common for contemporary kickers, passing up on a chance to try a 52-yarder in the second quarter of a 20-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

The Bills lost by more than three points, but a field goal could have influenced the rest of the game. Gailey's decision also indicates a lack of faith in his kicker on a team that ended a seven-quarter touchdown slump today.

"Sometimes it just doesn't work out," Lindell said of Gailey's decision. "Certainly, I'd like to be able to ..."

Lindell's voice trailed off as he tried to answer a pointed question diplomatically.

"You watch other games, and you see guys making two or three 50s in a game," Lindell said. "I want to play, too."

The Bills trailed 7-3 with 10:18 left in the second quarter and had the ball on the Colts' 34-yard line after Ryan Fitzpatrick took a 4-yard sack. Rather than try the field goal or go for the first down on fourth-and-14, Gailey elected to punt.

Shawn Powell lofted a 23-yard punt Tom Zibikowski fair caught at the Colts' 11-yard line. The net gain from the spot of the field goal -- had Lindell missed -- was 31 yards.

The Lucas Oil Stadium roof was closed. The temperature inside was 70 degrees. In pregame warmups, Lindell made a kick on that side of the field from 55 yards. He made one from 51 yards and sent one wide from 58 yards at the other end of the field.

"Usually, I just say 'When you get to the 35,' " Lindell said of his range. "It's been like that for 10 years or whatever.

"Get to there, and I don't have to worry about distance. It's just a matter of hitting a clean ball and keeping it straight. You go outside of that, I have to make sure I sting it a little bit."

Lindell has made 17 of his 30 attempts from 50 yards or longer throughout his career.

Gailey estimated his comfort level with Lindell's range was "50, 51, 52, somewhere right in there."

"He might make it, and he might not," Gailey said. "We were playing pretty good defensively, and I thought if we backed them up down there and held them, it was better for us percentage-wise and we'd be able to get a touchdown out of it because of field position."

On the Colts' ensuing possession, they drained 6:03 off the clock with a 12-play drive that ended on a 25-yard Adam Vinatieri field goal.

Gailey also declined to have Lindell kick a 53-yarder (also indoors) in overtime against the Arizona Cardinals in Week Six. The Bills punted, yet still won with a point-blank Lindell field goal set up by a Jairus Byrd interception.

"I'm just ready to kick when he wants me to kick," Lindell said. "Certainly, I prepare to make them. But he calls what he wants to call.

"I hope he thinks I can make that and he just wanted to pin them. I want them all. I want to attempt it. But when he calls punt, you've got to go punt."

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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 | tgraham@buffnews.com


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 | mgaughan@buffnews.com


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 | jskurski@buffnews.com

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