RUN­NING BACK CHARGED

The Kansas City Star - - Front Page - BY BLAIR KERKHOFF [email protected]­star.com

KU’s Pooka Wil­liams has been charged with do­mes­tic bat­tery and the team has sus­pended him over the in­ci­dent.

When the line of scrim­mage for ex­tra points moved to the 15-yard line in 2015, turn­ing the point after touch­down into a 33-yard at­tempt, the suc­cess rate for kick­ers was bound to drop.

That has hap­pened across the NFL. In 2014, the last year PATs were booted from the 20-yard line, NFL kick­ers col­lec­tively missed eight ex­tra points in 1,230 at­tempts.

With a quar­ter of the sea­son re­main­ing, NFL kick­ers have missed 54 ex­tra points in 950 at­tempts.

The Chiefs have con­trib­uted to the to­tal with four misses. They’ve oc­curred in the last five games, in­clud­ing a blocked kick in last week’s vic­tory at Oakland.

“It’s a 33-yard field goal, which is more chal­leng­ing than a 20-yard field goal,” Chiefs kicker Har­ri­son Butker said. “I’m not happy with my per­cent­age so far this sea­son, but it’s a bless­ing to have so many op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

There have been plenty of those. Be­cause the Chiefs lead the NFL in touch­downs (56), Butker leads the NFL in ex­tra­point at­tempts and makes. He’s 51 for 55, for 92.7 per­cent. That ranks 26th in the NFL and is be­low the league av­er­age of 94.3 per­cent.

The misses haven’t been costly. The Chiefs went 3-1 in those games and weren’t forced to chase points later.

Still, spe­cial teams coach Dave Toub wants to see im­prove­ment. Asked at what point he be­comes con­cerned with the per­cent­age, Toub said with the next miss.

“If we miss an­other one that’s not blocked, we’ve got to think about what’s go­ing on there,” Toub said. “But I’m not wor­ried about Butker.”

Bet­ter these things hap­pen now than in the play­offs, Toub noted. There’s time to cor­rect mis­takes.

This sea­son, Butker has a made a higher per­cent­age of field goals (19 for 20) than

ex­tra points. He’s made all five of his field-goal at­tempts be­tween 30 and 39 yards. Add 55 more at­tempts from that dis­tance and it’s easy to be less than per­fect.

“I’m not giv­ing us any ex­cuses; we want to be 100 per­cent on those,” Toub said. “But the num­bers do catch up with you some­times.”

Butker made all 28 of his ex­tra point at­tempts last year, his rookie sea­son. In the first three years of the longer ex­tra point, the Chiefs had missed a to­tal of five ex­tra points, all by for­mer kicker Cairo San­tos.

Although the last miss was blocked, Butker said if the snap from James Winch­ester and hold from Dustin Colquitt are there, the con­ver­sion should be made.

“Any missed kick I have I put it on me,” Butker said. “As long as the ball is on the ground, I have to make it. On the block, I could have hit the kick higher. The blame is on me if there’s a miss.”

The rule change came about be­cause ex­tra points were too easy. The NFL suc­cess rate hadn’t been lower than 98.1 per­cent in the pre­vi­ous two decades.

The Chiefs went nine years be­tween missed ex­tra points. Lawrence Tynes missed one in 2006, and the Chiefs didn’t miss an­other un­til 2015, the first year of the longer kick, a run of 295 con­sec­u­tive con­ver­sions.

Since go­ing to the longer kick, the rate has been around 94 per­cent, and even the best in the game have felt the im­pact. Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, who hadn’t missed an ex­tra point in his eightyear ca­reer, lost his per­fect record (222 straight) with 18 sec­onds re­main­ing in a one-point loss to the Saints ear­lier this sea­son.

En­ter­ing this week’s games, six teams haven’t missed an ex­tra point. The Charg­ers lead the NFL with seven misses. They’re not the au­to­matic tack-on point they once were, even for the Chiefs.

JOHN SLEEZER [email protected]­star.com

Chiefs kicker Har­ri­son Butker has missed four ex­tra points in the last five games, in­clud­ing one block against Oakland.

Har­ri­son Butker

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