ATLANTA – Submit this for understatement of the year: Stephen Hauschka is kicking with a lot of confidence right now.
We’re talking like, Kanye West levels of confidence – even if the Buffalo Bills’ kicker would never admit to it.
“I’m hitting the ball well, and just everything is coming together,” Hauschka said after hitting a pair of field goals in the fourth quarter of the Bills’ 23-17 win over the Falcons on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. “It feels great. I knew I was capable of these types of things, and the mind is powerful. I’m just trusting myself, believing in myself and having fun out there.”
These weren’t just any field goals, either. Hauschka became the first player in Bills history to hit at least two field goals of 55-plus yards in the same game Sunday, connecting from 55 and 56 yards. He added a chip shot from 24 yards, too. That’s a week after he set a team record by making two field goals from 53-plus yards, part of a 4-for-4 performance against the Broncos in Week Three. After missing his first field goal as a member of the Bills against the Jets in Week One, Hauschka has hit his last eight attempts, five of which have been from 49 yards or beyond.
“Hauschka’s the man,” guard Richie Incognito said. “He’s a true professional. The guy works his butt off. He’s probably the hardest-working kicker I’ve ever been around. He’s passionate about it, and you know, we believe in him. When he makes those kicks, man, I mean they’re huge for the team. It changes the whole tenor of the game.”
Hauschka said after the game his range stretched to at least 60 yards in the dome. That was evident as he made his two kicks look like extra points.
“That was big time,” quarterback Tyrod Taylor said. “Hauschka’s been doing a great job of making those conversions. He came to me at halftime and told me where his spot was on the field – where we needed to get to. … We want to finish drives with six points, but having him there is definitely a good thing.”
Bills coach Sean McDermott showed a good deal of faith in trying such long field goals when he did in the game. If Hauschka misses either kick, the Falcons take over with good field position.
“It’s awesome,” Hauschka said. “That’s exactly what I want. That’s what I prepare for all offseason, all training camp. It’s a fun position to be in when you want to kick at the end of the game.”
Hauschka remains fourth in NFL history with a conversion percentage of 87.28 on field goals.
So, will you start calling him “Hausch Money,” McDermott was asked after the game?
“If he keeps kicking like that I will,” McDermott said.