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Inside Drew Kaser's Bizarre Thanksgiving
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At least Drew Kaser can laugh about it now.
Pressed into kicking duties after Nick Novak injured his back, the punter was warming up from a couple yards out when his attempt missed the kicking net completely.
Safe to say, it was the most viral clip on Thanksgiving.
It’s also safe to say word got back to Head Coach Anthony Lynn, who scrapped plans to try a field goal in the second quarter and go for it on 4th-and-13 after the mishap.
“We were at the 25 and I was told he was good from the 25,” Lynn said. "And then someone told me he was practicing his kicks and he missed the whole damned net, so I decided to go for it.”
Still, Kaser brushed off the embarrassing moment to connect on one-of-three extra point attempts on the day. Before you laugh about his viral clip, consider how important that first extra point proved to be following Tyrell Williams’ touchdown.
Instead of a 15-0 lead, Kaser gave the Chargers a 16-0 advantage that forced the Dallas Cowboys to go for two after they finally found the end zone in the fourth quarter. Dak Prescott couldn’t connect with Terrance Williams in the end zone, keeping it a two-score game. Oddly enough, it was the first time he’s ever attempted a kick in his football career.
“It’s been a while, probably since college, that I messed around with kickoffs,” he said. “But I know I have a strong leg. I’ve never had to (place) kick because we’ve always had pro kickers from high school through college. So, when they called my name for that, I was ready to go.”
Still, it was a very bizarre Thanksgiving for Kaser. He became only the second punter in NFL history (Micah Knorr, 2003) to attempt a field goal or extra point while not recording a single punt attempt. Not only that, Kaser had more extra point tries on Thursday (three) than punts the last two weeks combined (two).
For Philip Rivers, this marked the second time in his career a punter had to be pressed into kicking duties.
Oddly enough, it happened against the Cowboys last week, which caused number 17 to pull up footage from the 2011 season opener when Mike Scifres took over for an injured Nate Kaeding.
“It’s the weirdest thing this week,” he said. “Watching last Sunday night, watching the Philly kicker go down and the linebacker had to kickoff…who would have thought that this week all of sudden, we’re in the same boat. Hopefully, Nick is OK. I know Nick is a competitor and cares about this team big time. I know it ate him up that he couldn’t be out there. But, shoot, Drew was great on kickoffs. He pushed a few wide (on PATs). I’ll have to fuss at him about that, but he was good. It’s valuable to have guy that at least you can have an opportunity.”
While it may seem similar enough, punting and kicking require two completely different skillsets.
“The swing is completely different,” Kaser said. “Different approach, basically different everything. That’s why you don’t see a lot of guys doing it in the pros…But I had to get ready when Nick went down. I had to sit back, get mentally ready, just go out there and perform the best I could to help our team win this game.”
When all was said and done, the Chargers left Dallas with a 28-6 victory, which allowed Kaser to have some fun on Twitter.