After making a 55-yard field goal on his first kick in the preseason and nailing two game-winners in the preseason, the Bucs thought they finally found a kicker in rookie Matt Gay, the team’s fifth-round pick, that could end Tampa Bay’s kicking woes that have plagued the men in red and pewter for a decade.
After starting the season 3-of-4 on field goals and 4-of-4 on extra points through the first two weeks of the season, Gay missed his first two extra points against the New York Giants before making the next two extra points and four straight field goals. Then came a monumental miss – a 34-yarder that missed just right as time expired, causing the Bucs to lose 32-31 at Raymond James Stadium.
Could Gay bounce back from a miss that made him a pariah among the Bucs’ fan base over the past week?
Straight out of a Hollywood movie, Gay went from zero to hero on Sunday for Tampa Bay, nailing all seven extra points and two field goals, including a career-long 58-yarder in the Bucs’ 55-40 upset over the previously unbeaten Rams in Los Angeles.
“It’s huge – it shows the confidence we have in the guy,” Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said about Gay in his post-game press conference. “He knows we have confidence in him. He’s not going anywhere. This kid is talented. One kick does not define you.”
Gay and Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein made NFL history as they became the first kickers to kick a 58-yarder in the same NFL game on Sunday.
Gay entered the Rams game connecting on 77.8 percent of his kicks and 71.4 percent of his extra points. After his perfect Week 4 performance, Gay is now hitting 81.8 percent of his field goals (9-of-11) and 85.7 percent of his extra points (12-of-14).