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No block party: Alex Carrington would rather his mitts lead to wins

By Tim Graham

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- A football weighs nearly a pound. Off a kicker's foot, it travels about 90 mph.

These end-over-end missiles have struck Alex Carrington's flesh four times this season.

He claims it doesn't hurt.

"No, it's just a football," the Buffalo Bills defensive tackle said after Nate Kaeding's 45-yard field-goal attempt thwapped Carrington's meaty forearm Sunday. "When the adrenaline's pumping, you don't feel it.

"If I took it to the stomach it might be another story. That'd hurt."

The result of Sunday's game in Sun Life stadium must've felt like a shot to the gut.

Carrington's fourth blocked kick of the year, probably a Bills record, didn't help them avoid another uninspiring defeat. The Miami Dolphins manhandled them, 24-10, in a game that wasn't as close as the score indicated.

"Whether you make a play or not, it's always bad to lose," Carrington said. "Being a competitor, losing will stick you inside, man.

"We didn't have the playoffs to play for, but I don't care if it's ping pong. You play to win. To come up with a loss, especially against a division opponent, it's never a good feeling. We came into the game feeling good. We just didn't do what needed to be done."

The Bills beat the Dolphins five weeks earlier in Ralph Wilson Stadium by denying the ground attack. Miami backs Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush rushed 22 times for 53 yards.

Sunday, with Thomas on injured reserve, Bush ran 19 times for 65 yards and a touchdown. Dolphins rookie Lamar Miller had 10 carries for 73 yards.

"Most of the stuff they got, it was our fault, a missed fit, a missed tackle," Carrington said. "We've got to make plays when they present themselves. We didn't do that. They did."

What has worked for Buffalo is Carrington on the block unit. He lines up over either guard on each attempt and has been able to make an impact with his penetration and 6-foot-5 reach.

Carrington has blocked three field goals and one extra point. Complete records on this stat are available as far back as only 1988, and no Bills player has blocked as many in a season as Carrington has.

The last Bills player to block three field goals in one season was Bruce Smith in 1996.

"Bruce DeHaven, our special teams coach, tells us all the time 'I can't guarantee that you'll block a kick. But I can guarantee you will not block it if you don't try,' " Carrington said. "So I just go hard every time, try to get my hand up and hope he'll kick a low ball or get penetration."

Carrington also redirected Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely's 38-yard attempt as regulation time expired in Week Six. The game went into sudden death, where the Bills won.

Carrington blocked Houston Texans kicker Shayne Graham's 46-yard attempt in Week Nine and an extra point try from Seattle Seahawks kicker Matt Hauschka last week in Toronto.

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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 |