Picture via www.csnphilly.com
A fourth round kicker should be able to send the kickoff through the uprights in 45 mile an hour wind gusts with his eyes closed. Perhaps that is an over exaggeration, but he should at least be able to consistently cause touchbacks and limit kick returns. The inability of Alex Henery to kick the ball into the endzone for touchbacks in critical situations led to significant returns, one of which caused the outcome of the game. The fact that Darren Sproles was able to return the ball with 4:54 left in the fourth quarter is honestly unbelievable. The most crucial kickoff in the past two years resulted in a horse collar tackle and 15 yard penalty on Cary Williams because there was no one else there to help bring Sproles down. Due to that, it is unfair to pin the blame on Williams because he had no other options. The two things to blame are Alex Henery and the atrocious kick coverage. In the biggest time of the year where the special teams had to step up, they choked under the pressure like Andy Reid and the Chiefs did over in Indianapolis. The drive that started just inside the Eagles territory led to an easy Shayne Graham field goal winner. The worst part about this is that it may not be the lowlight of the game for Henery.
In his first and maybe his only playoff game as a Philadelphia Eagle, Alex Henery missed his big time field goal opportunity when the team needed it most. As the game was starting up, points were few and hard to come by. A 48-yard kick for a fourth round kicker should be no problem. Wrong. Alex Henery lined up for the kick with all of Philadelphia disappointed that the Chip Kelly high potent offense could only rack up three measly points. That disappointment turned to anger in a matter of seconds as the kick sailed wide left. While Alex Henry was at a loss for words, the Philadelphia fanbase (including myself) wasn’t. In a matter of seconds demands of Henery being cut rushed through fans minds and onto Twitter.
Alex Henery may have kicked himself out of a job here in Philadelphia, but the fans saw last night that the Eagles do have player on the roster that can kick the ball into the endzone for a touchback. That player is Roc Carmichael, perhaps the face of the special teams failure Saturday night. After a decent punt by Donnie Jones and a spectacular save by Brandon Boykin, the Eagles had a chance to force the Saints to start at their own one-inch line, but some things seem just too good to be true. Roc Carmichael bolted in to try to save the what would have been greatest punt in Donnie Jones career and as his hands closed in on the ball, his feet did what Alex Henery’s could only do once all night and kicked the ball into the endzone for a touchback.