By Julian Draper
When the Kansas City Chiefs put themselves in position to defeat Minnesota Sunday afternoon (Nov. 3) at Arrowhead Stadium, Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker knew what he needed to do: relax.
After booting a 54-yard field goal to make the score 23-23 with 2 minutes, 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Butker was “jacked up,” he told reporters. But knowing an adrenaline rush could hurt him if called upon later to attempt a game-winning field goal, Butker breathed deeply and paced the sideline, he said.
Butker made time for physical preparation, too, taking a few kicks into a practice net on the sideline before calmly booting a 44-yard field goal as time expired to give the Chiefs a 26-23 home victory. That is generally how he prepares for such situations, he suggested.
“My body’s been feeling great all season, and I just feel like I can kick all day,” he said. “So once I just kind of calm down, … I’m kicking into the net, so then, once I run onto the field, it’s like the same thing I’ve been doing on the sideline.”
The field goal “was as clutch as you can get,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said.
The Chiefs made a few clutch plays to set up Butker’s clutch field goal. Taking possession with 1:47 remaining at the Minnesota 45 after a short punt, they lost 11 yards on first down. Facing second-and-21, quarterback Matt Moore tossed a 17-yard pass to tight end Travis Kelce. On third-and-4 from the Minnesota 39, Moore connected with wide receiver Tyreek Hill for a 13-yard catch-and-run play to put Kansas City at the Minnesota 26 – the line of scrimmage for Butker’s kick.
Sometimes, a coach will discuss with his quarterback what his kicker’s range is for a game-tying or game-winning field on a given day. Moore and his teammates were not part of any discussions about a target line of scrimmage, he said.
“We were executing plays that were coming in,” Moore said. “I mean, obviously, the closer you get, the better.”
The Chiefs (6-3) – who had dropped three of four ballgames before Sunday, with all their losses coming at home – will attempt to keep winning this Sunday (Nov. 10), when they face Tennessee in AFC action at Nissan Stadium. The Vikings (6-3) will look to rebound from their loss at Arrowhead when they face Dallas this Sunday at AT&T Stadium.