Matt Prater proved how crucial he is to success of the Detroit Lions
The kick was a 59-yard field goal that still would have been good even if the ball was moved back a little bit. Despite his struggles this season, that one kick proved that the Lions need Prater on their side.
Not many kickers across the league are capable of making a 59-yard field goal or even a longer one than that. The very few that can are kickers Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens, Brandon McManus of the Denver Broncos and Stephen Gostkowski of the Tennessee Titans. That’s about it.
There was also a kicker named Sebastian Janikowski of the Oakland Raiders who was capable of making a 59-yard-plus field goal. But he’s no longer in the NFL as he retired after the 2018 season.
With a kicker on the roster in Prater, it allowed the Lions to not have to worry about getting so far up the field to get closer to the end zone. They knew and had confidence in Prater that he could make a long field goal that they didn’t need to rush the offense in making a big play.
In fact, before the game, Prater was seen practicing taking field goals from about where the last play of the game was.
So far this season, Prater has made 17 of 23 field goal attempts (73.9%) which is the second lowest mark of his career. He’s made all his attempts in the 20-29 yard range (three for three) and same with the 30-39 yard range (six for six) but is four for seven in both the 40-49 yard range and tries that are 50+ yards.
While Matt Prater could be declining with age, even though he isn’t performing as well as he could be, he is still one of the best kickers in the league and the Lions are lucky to have him. Without Prater, the Detroit Lions wouldn’t be as good as they are now.