Succop Keeps FG Streak Going … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

Generally athletes and coaches don’t like to talk about negatives. They clam up and shy away from discussion if there’s a bit of a dark side to the issue. Whether it’s in the locker room or outside with the public, chatter on negatives is held to a minimum.

Seldom does it happen with a positive. Everybody likes to talk when things are going well. It’s all part of the process of building confidence, acknowledging good performance. But there are exceptions, like a no hitter in baseball. It’s tradition that when a pitcher is in the midst of a no-hit appearance that his teammates do not mention the lack of hits.

It’s the same with streaks. Any athlete that puts together a string of successful performances does not want to do anything to upset the mojo, including talking about what’s going on.

That’s why this story about Ryan Succop’s consecutive streak of 17 field goals came with some reluctant testimony. It isn’t that Succop or special teams coach Steve Hoffman, or even holder Dustin Colquitt refused to speak this week about the streak. It’s just that they were worried about disturbing the landscape in any fashion.

“I just kick and I don’t think about it,” Succop said on Friday, after the practice week wrapped up for Sunday’s game against Green Bay. “I know it’s been awhile since we missed one, but I’m not putting notches in a belt or anything. It’s nice to be able to do that. It gives me a great deal of confidence going out there.

“The best part of the 17 in a row is that some of them were able to keep us in games and help us win a few games. That’s been the most encouraging part.”

His streak is currently the longest in the NFL at 17. The man who the Chiefs released after drafting Succop, Tampa Bay kicker Connor Barth is second with a streak of 14. More info at the bottom of the story.

Right now, Succop’s string of 17 consecutive field goals is the fourth longest in Chiefs history. It’s actually the third longest in a single season, trailing only 21 straight that Nick Lowery hit in 1990 and 1991. The team record was set by Pete Stoyanovich who made 22 straight in the 1997-98 seasons. (More details on those streaks at the end of the story).

Succop has not missed a field goal attempt since September 25, when he was wide on a 38-yard attempt in San Diego. He came back and made one from 33 yards in that same game, but after three weeks he was only two of five. There were real questions being raised about whether the last selection in the 2009 NFL Draft had hit a performance wall; something that’s happened to many kickers over the years.

“It was just one of those things that he missed a couple early,” said Hoffman. “It was out of character. What he’s done lately is more in character for Ryan. He didn’t change anything. Because it wasn’t out of character, we didn’t make a big deal out of it. Sometimes it just happens and you have to keep kicking through it.”

The coach and kicker watched tape and saw one thing that may have been causing Succop’s problem – he was too quick in his stroke. It’s a matter of not even a half-second, but he was going faster than he was when he was successful.

“Watching kickers, when they are young they go after the ball harder and faster than the older guys,” Hoffman said. “When you watch some of the crafty veterans, they almost walk up to the ball. That way they are in control. I’ve always thought kicking is more about rhythm than anything else. You have to learn your rhythm and consistently get into that same rhythm every time.

“We did slow him down, so he was more controlled to the ball.”

Since then he’s been perfect, with three FGs of more than 50 yards, including his career-high 54-yarder against Minnesota. Last week against the New York Jets he hit from 53 yards. Here’s how the season has broken down for him:

  • Buffalo – 49 wide right.
  • @ Detroit – 33, 44 wide left.
  • @ San Diego – 38 wide right, 33.
  • Minnesota – 40, 24, 51, 54, 22.
  • @ Indianapolis – none.
  • @ Oakland – none.
  • San Diego – 36, 47, 30.
  • Miami – 43.
  • Denver – 32.
  • @ New England – 26.
  • Pittsburgh – 41, 49, 40.
  • @ Chicago – 21.
  • @ New York Jets – 53.

“He’s really just into the game, every week, doing the extras like knowing the weather and judging the wind,” said Colquitt. “He’s just swinging it very well. I’m just trying to make sure I put the ball where he needs it to be.”

Ah, the weather. It’s the time of year when field goal streaks can get blown of course by a gusty winter gale. Succop navigated his way through the wind at Chicago’s Soldier Field, and did the same last week at the new stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands. Colder temperatures make for a harder football and the air is often thicker in feel.

Keeping a streak alive in those conditions requires a kicker with a strong leg, a lot of confidence and good rhythm.

“It’s tougher this time of year,” said Hoffman. “But Ryan is so solid he can fight through those things. He may not make them all, but then again, he has the ability to do it.”

Succop says the streak is not at the top of his mind when he hits the field on Sundays.

“My job is to make the field goals,” Succop said. “The conditions do not matter. It’s a results league.”

MOST CONSECUTIVE FIELD GOALS MADE/CHIEFS

Rnk Kicker Season # Field goals made How did it end?
1. Pete Stoyanovich 1997-98 22 42,29,41,45,25,52,41,39,35,44,

45,54,22,44,27,40,40, 48,30,25, 28, 19

9/6 vs. Oakland, short/47 yards.
2. Nick Lowery 1990 21 36,48,41,25,30,24,36,37,35,36,19,

32,45,33,35,32,19,30,43,32,38

9/1 vs. Atlanta, wide left/51 yards.
  Nick Lowery 1991 21 41,40,24,22,32,48,25,33,20,44,19

,27,34,22,20,28,36,39,29,18,33

12/22 vs. LA Raiders, short/43 yards.
4. Ryan Succop 2011 17 33,40,24,51,54,22,36,47,

30,43,32,26,41,49,40,21,53

It hasn’t.
5. Jan Stenerud 1969 16 47,34,37,44,16,30,47,21,

38,14,16,48,8,47,20,25

12/13 vs. Oakland, wide right/38 yards.
6. Nick Lowery 1992-93 15 26,33,20,32,47,35,36,20,

20,27,38,30,26,21,23

9/12 vs. Houston, wide left/46 yards.
  Morten Andersen 2002 15 33,30,25,38,39,39,50,24,

36,40,27,28,43,41,32

10/20 vs. Denver, short/43 yards.
  Ryan Succop 2009-10 15 31,27,22,22,47,21,30,27,

30,20,36,47,35,26,23

9/26 vs. San Francisco, wide right/38yards.

MOST CONSECUTIVE FIELD GOALS/CURRENT STREAKS

Rnk

Kicker Team

#

FGs

1.

Ryan Succop Chiefs

17

33,40,24,51,54,22,36,47,30,43,32,26,41,49,40,21,53

2.

Connor Barth Tampa Bay

14

42,38,33,40,48,25,55,23,32,43,50,47,46,44

3.

Alex Henery Philadelphia

10

35,28,24,23,26,47,33,43,22,40

4.

John Kasay New Orleans

7

48,44,26,39,25,29,22

  Rob Bironas Tennessee

7

31,52,38,48,27,44,43

 

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