Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson has put together quite a few amazing games in his 21-year NFL career. On Sunday, he had one of the more remarkable games in his career both as a kicker and a punter. Confused? Allow me to explain.
When the Tennessee Titans pulled off the punt version of the "Music City Miracle" in the first quarter of Sunday's game, Lions punter Ben Graham suffered a left calf injury. This injury left him unable to punt, forcing Hanson into action as the punter for the first time since 2003. Before Sunday, Hanson had a total of 12 punts in his career (one in 1995, one in 1996, three in 1998 and seven in 2003). He did a pretty good job on those 12 punts, averaging around 35 yards per attempt.
On Sunday in Tennessee, Hanson did an excellent job as the punter. He had three punts for an average of 39.3 yards. His first went 37 yards and his second was good for 35 yards. His final punt was his longest -- a 46-yarder when the Lions needed to flip the field with time running down in the fourth quarter. The Titans ended up scoring two plays later, but Hanson put the Lions in a very good position defensively.
As good as he was as the replacement punter, Hanson was even better at his regular job. He went 4-for-4 on field goals and 3-for-3 on extra points during Sunday's game. His field goals came from a distance of 47, 53, 33 and 26 yards. What's more, one of his extra points came after the Lions scored on the final play of the game on a Hail Mary. Hanson needed to convert the extra point to send the game to overtime, and he did just that.
That extra point wasn't the only clutch play by Hanson. A few plays earlier, he kicked a perfect onside that went right to Amari Spievey. The onside recovery put the Lions in position for the Hail Mary and kept their chances of coming back and winning alive. While Hanson did put one kickoff out of bounds in Sunday's game, overall he was excellent in more ways than one. (And the Lions got a fumble recovery right after the botched kickoff anyway.)
As if Hanson's day wasn't impressive enough, he set a few personal marks during Sunday's game. For starters, he passed Matt Stover on the list of career made field goals (via Jennifer Hammond). Hanson now trails John Carney, who is in third place, by only five made field goals. Speaking of Carney and Stover, Hanson joined them as the only kickers in NFL history with 25 games of four made field goals (via CBS Lions). Also, Hanson made four field goals in back-to-back games for the first time in his career, according to Tim Twentyman.
Hanson may be getting up there in age (he's now 42), but don't tell me he doesn't still have it. He's just as good as he's ever been, both as a kicker and a punter, apparently.
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