SDUT: Kaeding gets a kick out of his four FGs

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Staff member
Jun 20, 2005
Chula Vista, CA

Career best comes in crucial situation
By Kevin Acee

December 19, 2005

INDIANAPOLIS – Nate Kaeding had a feeling – a hope, actually – it would go like this.

And after watching the longest and most important field goal of the season sail through the uprights, he danced to the sideline pumping his fists.

"This is a playoff game," Kaeding said. "It was time for me to step up in a big game and a big situation, and I was happy to do it."

Kaeding made a career-high four field goals yesterday – from 36 and 20 yards in the first half, a 48-yarder in the third quarter and a 49-yarder with 6:41 remaining that gave the Chargers a two-point lead.

The Chargers ended up scoring again in their 26-17 victory, but Kaeding's kick was among the game's many momentum-changers. The Chargers had trailed for the first time in the game, and a miss by Kaeding might have sunk them.

"When you miss field goals like that you kind of let the air out of your balloon," head coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "And he stepped up there and nailed a couple, and I think our football team responded to that."

Kaeding's career so far has been marked by consistency. He is now 21-of-24 on the season and 41-of-49 in his career. But it was also pockmarked by an overtime miss in last year's playoff game against the New York Jets.

Yesterday's timing, it turned out, was uncanny.

On Saturday night, as Kaeding thought ahead to the game, he surmised it might be close and that he could play a big role.

"It's funny," he said. "I was thinking the only thing I'm really disappointed about so far in my career is (while) I've been consistent week in and week out for the most part, it's just been absent of a big game or a big play.

"So I was looking at today as an opportunity to get that under my belt. It came across. Kicking is a lot about circumstance. You have to have the opportunity."