It was just two weeks ago that Nick Novak was wondering if he'd ever kick in an NFL game again.
Despite coming off a career-year in 2016, the Houston Texans released him during the final roster reduction. While other teams made kicker changes over the first month of the year, Novak was still at home, unsure if he'd get another chance.
Then the call came from the team he hoped to hear from.
It was only 10 days ago that the Los Angeles Chargers decided to make a kicker change, bringing in a trusted, established veteran in Novak. That move paid major dividends on Sunday as he booted a game-winning 32-yard field goal as time expired to beat the Oakland Raiders, 17-16.
"It's one of the most amazing feelings when you win a game in the NFL," he said, mere minutes after his clutch kick. "It's hard to do. When you do your job well, and help contribute to a win, that's what you dream (about)."
Novak's proven ability to shake off adversity is what's made him a successful kicker throughout his career. That was on display in Oakland, when he rebounded from a missed kick in the first half to come through when it mattered most.
"There was that 48-yarder that I missed, and that happens. I wish I would have made that, but more importantly, you've got to bounce back. You've got to make all those extra points and continue to do my job."
Head Coach Anthony Lynn had no doubt that Novak would deliver in the clutch despite his earlier miss. After all, the team did a lot of research before deciding to bring back the former Bolt for his second stint.
"Very confident," he said. "He made the kicks in practice. He made them pregame. Absolutely (confident)…Nick doesn't miss the ones when the game's on the line. I did the research on him!"
That praise meant the world to the kicker.
"That's a great compliment to have," he said. "That's the reputation every kicker wants."
Lynn wasn't the only one grateful to have Novak with the game on the line. Having seen the kicker come through in the clutch countless times before, Philip Rivers was happy to see number nine trot out there once again.
After all, like any great competitor, Novak lives for those high-pressure situations.
"I think Nick loves it," Rivers explained. "I just know from his previous time here, he loves this team. He takes great pride to know the guys count on him. Shoot, he may miss one. He missed one today. I've had my fair share of misses and mistakes. We all have. But he loves the opportunity to help contribute. It was fun to have him out there kicking a game winner."
"I came in with Nick my first year," added Jahleel Addae. "I know what he can do. We all trusted him. No doubt he'd make it. That's Nick."