A popular hashtag during football season is #CollegeKickers, mocking the field goals and extra points that placekickers frequently miss throughout college football. Based on early action from the opening weekend of the 2017 NFL season, #NFLPunters might gain some steam as a new hashtag.
First up, the Cleveland Browns had the kind of mishap on their opening drive that will make fans reach for paper bags to put over their heads. Punter Britton Colquitt had his attempt blocked just steps from his own end zone by the Steelers’ Tyler Matakevich and Anthony Chickillo recovered the block for a touchdown.
Not the way you want to start a game, says Captain Obvious.
The Browns first punt attempt of 2017. ???pic.twitter.com/ARYtbgiqPU
— The Fake ESPN (@TheFakeESPN) September 10, 2017
In Detroit, the Lions also had an issue with a punt early in their game against the Arizona Cardinals. Kasey Redfern had to punt out of the end zone with his heels dangerously close to stepping out of bounds and giving the Cardinals a safety. After receiving a low snap that hit the turf, Redfern didn’t step out of the end zone, but he didn’t kick the ball either.
Redfern ran to the right and seemingly had an opening to get off a kick — which may not have gone that far — but instead, he ran out of the end zone and was hit out of bounds at the Detroit 11-yard line. Excellent field position for the Cardinals, but the Lions were able to hold and keep Arizona to a field goal.
We'll take it! pic.twitter.com/Yj5g54mCTD
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) September 10, 2017
Making matters worse for the Lions, Redfern was injured on that play and had to leave the game. That meant kicker Matt Prater had to take over punting duties for Detroit and backup quarterback Jake Rudock had to take over as the holder on extra points and field goals. That cost the Lions a point after Detroit scored a touchdown. Rudock botched the hold and wasn’t able to find a receiver open for a two-point conversion. Instead of a 10-7 margin, the Lions were down 10-6 in the second quarter.
And this wasn’t a punt, but it was a punt return. In Washington, the Redskins’ Jamison Crowder muffed a return and it was recovered by the Eagles’ Trey Burton. The turnover eventually led to a Philadelphia touchdown to put Washington behind 13-0 in the second quarter.
On the Crowder muff, he sort of jumped as he caught it?
— Chad Ryan (@ChadwikoRCC) September 10, 2017
Here are some of the other bungled plays that occurred early on in the opening games of Sunday’s NFL action.