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Ex-Cats in the NFL: The Jets’ Nick Folk continues to be clutch

Nick Folk celebrates Sunday's game-winner. Photo by Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

Nick Folk celebrates Sunday’s game-winner. Photo by William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

Here is a stat I did not know until Sunday:

Former Arizona Wildcats kicker Nick Folk entered the NFL season ranked second among all kicker since 1991 in fourth-quarter field goal accuracy for regular and postseason games.

He was at 93.3 percent in those situations (42 of 45), including making all three of his attempts from 50 yards.

He’s even better now.

Folk hit a 30-yard field goal with 5:05 left for a 15-14 lead over Tampa Bay on Sunday, and then he gave the New York Jets an improbable 18-17 victory with a 48-yarder with two seconds left on the clock. (Video at this link.)

The Buccaneers had taken the lead with 34 seconds left, but Folk got a reasonable shot at the game-winner when Lavonte David was called for a 15-yard personal foul penalty for pushing Jets quarterback Geno Smith after he ran out of bounds.

“When you go from 63 to 48, you can … I don’t want to say change your mechanics, but I can slow myself down,” Folk was quoted as saying on ESPN.com.

“I can make it nice and smooth, as opposed to getting after a long one. When you’re that far, you have tendency to let it fly. From 48, you can hit it like an extra point. That’s when I told myself when I went out there: It’s like an extra point.”

Folk has made six game-winners (see chart below) in his NFL career, which is into its seventh season. Five of those kicks have come with the Jets. Folk joined New York after three seasons in Dallas.

When Folk was with the Cowboys, he also sent a game into overtime with a last-play 52-yard field goal, but Dallas ended up losing to the Cardinals.

The Jets brought in Billy Cundiff and then Dan Carpenter to compete with Folk in training camp, but he held on to the job, which looks like a good personnel decision.

“Go ahead and write it: Folk hero,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said in his postgame news conference. “We’ve seen it. We’re going to see it again, I’ve got a feeling.”


Date Field goal Time left Final
Oct. 8, 2007 53 yards 0:00 Cowboys 25, Bills 24
Nov. 7, 2010 30 yards 12:42, OT Jets 23, Lions 20
Jan. 8, 2011 32 yards 0:00 Jets 17, Colts 16 (playoffs)
Sept. 11, 2011 50 yards 0:27 Jets 27, Cowboys 24
Sept. 23, 2012 33 yards 6:04, OT Jets 23, Dolphins 20
Sept. 8, 2013 48 yards 0:02 Jets 18, Buccaneers 17
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