There is no doubt that the Oakland Raiders have plenty of flaws other than special teams this season, but the kicking seems to be letting down the offense more than ever. The usual “automatic” Sebastian Janikowski is now 15-22 this season and his longest is only from 53 yards out. His 2 misses against the Tennessee Titans this afternoon cost Oakland a win and potentially a playoff spot.
Now the Raider legend gets some credit for being so good in the past, and no one is questioning his leg strength, but since his long time friend, punter, and holder Shane Lechler was traded to the Houston Texans before the season, Janikowski just hasn’t been the same. It was even reported today that Janikowski was complaining about the hold on one of the misses today. But eventually he has got to get it together with present day punter Marquette King.
If Janikowski makes his 48 yard chip shot before the first half of game 1 against the Indianapolis Colts, the Raiders are only down one in the fourth quarter and Pryor never has to throw the ball after getting 1st and goal on the 8. If he makes the 54 yarder in Houston, the game would have been in Oakland control instead of coming down to another goal line stand. And now his 2 misses today have cost the raiders a second win and instead of being 6-5 and in the 6th playoff spot for the AFC, the Raiders are at 4-7 and all but out of playoff contention with 13 teams tied or ahead of them in the standings in the AFC alone.
Whether the problem lies with the holder or the kicker, as long as the snap is held correctly, the blame is going to fall on the kicker and the rest of the team and the fans have to sit by and watch wins slip right out of their hands.