INDIANAPOLIS — Missing one extra point? That happens from time to time, even to the greatest of kickers.
But missing two extra points in one game? There might be something else going on.
And, accordingly, that does appear to be the case for the Indianapolis Colts and kicker Adam Vinatieri, who not only missed two extra points in Sunday’s 37-5 victory over the Buffalo Bills at Lucas Oil Stadium, but also looked shaky on the two extra points and the field goal that he did convert throughout the contest.
Colts head coach Frank Reich on Monday said that Vinatieri, who is on the brink of becoming the National Football League’s all-time leader in points scored, is, in fact, dealing with a groin injury, and that the 23-year NFL veteran underwent an MRI and his immediate status is unknown at this time.
As a safeguard, Reich said the Colts will work out some kickers this week just in case Vinatieri can’t play in this Sunday’s Week 8 road matchup against the Oakland Raiders.
Vinatieri was previously on the team’s injury report back in Week 5, when he was listed with a right groin injury leading up to the team’s Thursday Night Football matchup against the New England Patriots. Vinatieri made 1-of-2 field goal attempts in that game, and hit both of his field goal attempts the next week against the New York Jets, and connected on all seven of his extra-point attempts combined in both contests.
Reich said Vinatieri felt a tweak in his groin again on his first kick against the Bills, a missed extra-point attempt early in the second quarter following the Colts’ first touchdown of the day, a 17-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Luck to tight end Erik Swoope.
Vinatieri would make his next three kicks — a 36-yard field goal and two extra-point tries — although they weren’t exactly right down the middle, as Vinatieri is accustomed to.
He then missed his second extra-point attempt of the day after the Colts’ final score, a 20-yard touchdown run by Marlon Mack with 5:26 left in the fourth quarter.
Reich said it’s been hard not to take Vinatieri’s availability and production for granted given how long he’s excelled at putting the ball through the uprights. That’s why the team wants to be extra careful with Vinatieri, who is now just five points away from breaking Morten Andersen’s record for the most points in NFL history (2,544).
Perhaps a bit of good news for Vinatieri is that the team’s bye week will follow this Sunday’s game against the Raiders.
“At the end of the day, when you’ve got a guy like Adam that’s just so unique, we’re going to listen to him and we’re going to listen to the trainers, and that’ll be what will inform our decision as the week goes on,” Reich said.
“He’s just like a robot,” Reich continued. “He’s a machine. But the good thing is he has that mental toughness, that mindset … to do what he’s done in his career, you know he has the right mindset to get past this, whatever course it should take.”
Vinatieri this season has converted 12-of-14 of his field goal attempts (85.7 percent), with a long of 54 yards, and has now hit 17-of-19 (89.5 percent) of his extra-point tries.
Reich on Monday did not have any concrete updates on two players who suffered injuries during Sunday’s game against the Bills and did not return.
Those players are defensive tackle Jihad Ward (ankle) and Swoope (knee).
There’s a chance the team could see the return of another player this week who has been sidelined for the past five weeks.
Tight end Jack Doyle, who has been out since suffering a hip injury Week 2 against the Washington Redskins, continues progressing in his recovery, Reich said. It’s unknown at this point if he could get back to the practice field this week, or if they’ll play it safe and wait until after the bye week, however.