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Sanders off to Record-Setting Start ... With Maybe More to Come

Miami Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders has been perfect on field goal and extra points through the first five weeks of the 2020 season
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Miami Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders was part of the Play of the Year in the NFL in 2019 when he caught a touchdown pass from punter Matt Haack on the now-famous "Mountaineer Shot."

He hasn't done anything that noteworthy five weeks into the 2020 season, but he's getting some notice nonetheless.

This time it's because of his busy and brilliant kicking.

Sanders, quite simply, is off to the best start ever for a Dolphins kicker with the numbers to prove it.

He's a perfect 14-for-14 on field goal attempts and 10-for-10 on extra points, making him one of only four kickers around the NFL without a blemish in either category. The others are Sam Ficken of the Jets, Will Lutz of the Saints and former Dolphins kicker Cody Parkey now of the Browns.

The Dolphins single-season record for field goal accuracy of 91.3 percent is shared by Jay Feely and Parkey, who went 21-for-23 in 2007 and 2017, respectively.

The 14 consecutive field goals to start a season is a Dolphins record, breaking the mark of 13 first set by Pete Stoyanovich in 1990 and matched by Olindo Mare in 2001.

Sanders has now made 17 consecutive field goals dating back to his game-winner in overtime against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 16 last season. That streak is tied for second in Dolphins history behind only the run of 19 straight by Mare in 1999.

Mare made the Pro Bowl in that 1999 season, just as Carpenter made the Pro Bowl in 2009, the year he made his 17 consecutive field goals.

The only other Dolphins kicker to make the Pro Bowl was Garo Yepremian, who did it twice.

It's far too early to be talking Pro Bowl (whatever form it takes in 2020), but Sanders clearly has been one of the best kickers in the NFL this season.

Not only has he made every kick, practically all of them have been right down the middle.

“He’s been great the entire year and he’s taking real ownership of his craft," head coach Brian Flores said. "Every kick is important to him, whether it’s kickoff or if it’s a field goal. This guy is diligent about his craft as anyone I’ve been around. I’m really happy for him and the success he’s had individually, but it’s really helped us as a team. I think all our specialists are playing pretty well and contributing on the kicking game as well as offense and defense. You need as many contributions as you can get in this league.”

Sanders' success with his field goals comes after he actually struggled a bit in that department last year, though that was overshadowed by "Mountaineer Shot" and his team-record seven field goals in the 22-21 loss against the Jets last December — though he did miss one kick in that one-point loss.

But Sanders was on the money as a rookie also, going 18-for-20 in 2018.

It's proven to be quite an astute seventh-round pick by the Dolphins, who this year used a sixth-round selection on new long-snapper Blake Ferguson.