Since hitting two tied for franchise-best 58-yard field goals against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2, Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker has been good, but not perfect.
In five of the last six games, Butker has missed one extra point attempt. On Friday, he acknowledged the shortcomings, and what the reasoning behind them may be.
“Looking back at the tape I think the biggest issue with the PATs, except for one, has been where I’m starting the kick at,” Butker said. “The one in Buffalo was kind of the outlier, I started right and stayed right. But, the other ones have all been balls that have been tilling to the left, or even that field goal against the Ravens.”
This season, Butker has missed five extra-point attempts, half of the PATs he missed in the first three years of his career. He’s also missed one field goal.
Some have questioned whether or not the adjustment from former holder Dustin Colquitt to present holder Tommy Townsend has factored into the issues.
Special teams coordinator David Toub has emphasized Townsend is not at fault for the misses.
“Not enough credit goes to Tommy,” Toub said. “He comes in here and under stressful situations is able to catch the snap and get it down on the spot and he’s really doing a good job. I mean, yeah, is there a learning curve? For sure there is, and we’ll get better and better every game, but I don’t see it as a big problem. It isn’t why [Butker’s] missed a couple extra points. It’s not the issue.”
Butker, Townsend and long-snapper James Winchester worked together when team facilities were shut down during the offseason due to COVID-19.
They didn't have the chance to work together in live competition before the season began, creating a gap in adjustments for Butker.
“Obviously not having a preseason, you don’t have the in-game field goals,” Butker said. “That’s why I think every practice, every game is super important. You build that chemistry together. We’re all humans, we all have tendencies. So, different holders will have tendencies to do different things. I’m not saying Tommy has bad tendencies at all, but it is sort of understanding the holder.”
Butker’s latest miss came in the fourth quarter of the Chiefs’ 43-16 win over the Denver Broncos last Saturday.
By then he had already succeeded on three field goals (40 yards, 31 yards, 26 yards, 31 yards) and four extra-point attempts in snowy and windy conditions.
“You got to look at each day and that was a tough day,” Toub said. “Every day is different. I know he’s got a couple of misses on extra points. We got total confidence in Harrison Butker on what he can do going forward.”
To Butker, refinding his confidence means consistently putting up the perfect kick to make a PAT.
“I think I just need to have a good line,” Butker said. “I need that ball to come out exactly where I’m aiming. Unfortunately, I have missed extra points and a lot of them have been left, but every day I’m trying to get better and obviously trying to get that fixed."