The ball came off the foot of Aldrick Rosas straight and true, and the kicker couldn’t believe his bad luck.
“All pregame my ball was kind of drawing a little bit so I was leaning on that to happen,” he said of the 37-yard field-goal attempt he launched late in the third quarter last Sunday against the Cardinals. “It had a clean rotation. It just kind of stayed down the hatch.”
And then — doink! — knocked off the right upright. The Giants’ chance to close what at the time was a 10-point deficit to a one-possession game failed. And later, when the final frantic minutes of the game unfolded with the Giants at first trailing by three points and then by six, those three points took on even larger significance.
“Any time they put me on the field — we’ve won by a point this season already — whether it be an extra point or a field goal, we gotta have the points,” Rosas told Newsday this week. “The fourth quarter is always the craziest, you never know what’s going to happen, so whenever the opportunity presents itself before that we have to have the points.”
But while Rosas lamented the lost opportunity, he was not stressing about what it might mean for him or his future. That obstacle already has been cleared. Rosas is now a proven commodity — a Pro Bowler last year even — and an established veteran kicker. One missed field goal isn’t going to shake his confidence the way it might have in his first season in 2017, or even last year at this time.
“Having the year he had last year gave him a lot of confidence,” special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey said. “He understands now more than ever the issues that he has and he’s able to self-correct … He knows the fixes.”
“I’m not shaken by any means,” Rosas said. “It’s going to happen. No one is ever going to go perfect. We just have to keep believing in us and get back to the automatic rhythm that special teams as a whole was last year.”
Rosas already has missed two field-goal attempts this season, which is one more than he did all of last season. His miscue before last Sunday’s was in Week 2 against Buffalo and it ended a streak of 20 straight successes, which was the second longest in Giants history. He is 4-for-6 this season. That’s a fairly small sample size — he’s on pace for just 14 attempts on the season after 33 last year— but enough to be just a little alarming.
“He hasn’t had a whole lot of attempts this year,” McGaughey said. “We’re still trying to find that good solid game rhythm. When you don’t have the attempts like that it just takes some time.”
The Giants remain confident in Rosas, both now and beyond.
“He’s a young kid with a ton of upside,” McGaughey said. “Hopefully he can do this for the next 20 years.”
Rosas is just focused on this one, during which he has so far been less reliable than the previous one.
“After making the Pro Bowl I guess we’re held to a higher standard now,” he said. “But when they put us in, the field goal unit, they know more often than not we’re going to walk away with the points. So we just have to help the team and be a part of the win.”