ATLANTA --- Colts punter Pat McAfee is already the reigning 1st-Team All-Pro punter in the NFL, widely considered the best in the league at kicking a football quite far; however, for those still skeptical, he added (another) franchise record to his resume in Sunday's 24-21 win over Atlanta.
McAfee averaged 52 yards on his five punts, the 16th time he's averaged at least 50 yards per punt in a game, a new Colts record:
MOST 50.0-PLUS PUNTING AVERAGE GAMES IN COLTS HISTORY
Player Games Years
Pat McAfee 16 2009-2015
Rohn Stark 15 1982-1994
Hunter Smith 14 1999-2008
McAfee had a long punt of 60 yards against the Falcons but more importantly, two pinned inside the 20-yard line. His most important punt of the day came with 10:14 left in the game and the Colts trailing 21-14. McAfee's 50-yard punt was downed on the 1-yard-line by wide receiver Donte Moncrief (the only special teams snap Moncrief played). On the very next play, Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan threw an interception returned for a touchdown by linebacker D'Qwell Jackson.
"It was a great victory - offense, defense, and special teams. I don't think there was a bigger play than Pat's punt that was downed at the 1-yard-line," said kicker Adam Vinatieri after the game. "That puts a lot of pressure on their offense. Sure enough, D'Qwell intercepts it, 7 points, bang! We're back into this thing."
"Every single game field position is huge for us. It's a main priority for us to think about," said McAfee after the game. "It's always really nice when it works out that way...That's just Donte Moncrief running down there and making an incredible play. Then you got our entire punt team protecting so well. (Former international rugby player) Daniel Adongo, in one of his first few football games in history coming out and making some plays, and (long-snapper Matt) Overton doing great. That's just how it's supposed to work out."
McAfee is already the franchise leader in other punting categories. His 46.1 yards per punt is the best in Colts history. He also set the franchise record for most punt yards by a rookie in 2009. The best punting average for a season by a Colt? McAfee is first, second, third, and fourth on that list.
In 2011, he became the only Colt to ever average 40 yards per punt in all 16 games during the season. The following season, he broke a franchise record that stood since 1966 when McAfee had five games with an 50 yards per punt average, and he broke that record by two games. Last season, he broke his own franchise record by three with 30 punts inside the 20. His 6 punts inside the 20 in one game, set in 2013? Another franchise record.
So McAfee's big game Sunday in Atlanta? Business as usual for the Boomstick.