INDIANAPOLIS — "Adam Vinatieri just continues to make field goal after field goal after field goal."
Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano couldn't have put it any better.
But with every field goal the 21-year veteran converts, the more history he makes — and the closer he gets to his rightful spot in Canton.
At 43 years old, Vinatieri is at the top of his game, a fact no more evident than Sunday's contest against the Chicago Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium, where Vinatieri connected on all five of his field goal attempts — tying his single-game career high — including one from 54 yards and another from 53 yards.
"You slip and you kind of take it for granted, but you can't," Colts quarterback Andrew Luck said when asked about Vinatieri's value and longevity. "He's the best. Again, a great teammate. A great role model for any young guy. He just works his butt off and keeps kicking."
Vinatieri simply can't miss.
With his five field goals on Sunday, he improved his streak of consecutive field goals made to 38, a mark that ranks second in franchise history (Mike Vanderjagt made 42 straight over the 2002-04 seasons) and third in NFL history (behind Gary Anderson's streak of 40 consecutive makes in 1997-98) and is the longest active streak in the NFL.
Vinatieri, of course, decides to play off the historical context of his impressive streak. He's just playing his role, he says.
"Everybody has a job to do," Vinatieri said after Sunday's game. "We preach all the time, 'Do your job,' and it's my job to go out and try to put points on the board and I'm happy it's going there right now."
Vinatieri is having no trouble doing his job, and he's been just as dependable from longer distances.
With a successful kick from 54 yards in the first quarter, Vinatieri set a new Colts record for the most consecutive field goals made from 50-plus yards in team history with eight. Vinatieri topped his previous record of seven, which he set from 2013-14.
He improved his record to nine-straight kicks of 50-plus yards with his 53-yard conversion in the second quarter, which gave the Colts a 13-6 lead.
Vinatieri's final field goal of the day, a 46-yarder with 2:28 remaining in the fourth quarter, gave the Colts a two-possession lead and tied single-game career highs with five conversions and 17 points. The Colts won the game, 29-23.
"It's flying well right now," Vinatieri said. "I definitely have to give a lot of props to the guys up front blocking for me. Matt (Overton) and Pat (McAfee) are doing a fantastic job making my job a little easier, but sometimes they go where they are supposed to go. I'm just happy I made all the kicks today, went out there and helped put points on the board and it was a good day."
While Vinatieri certainly has no interest in gloating about his accomplishments, his head coach certainly was full of praise for his veteran kicker after the game on Sunday, giving Vinatieri a game ball for his efforts.
"This guy — I mean, he's unbelievable. I think it's 38 straight," Pagano told his team after the game. "He made a bunch of damn kicks today again, and he saves our ass every week."