SANTA CLARA—A week ago, the Seahawks made a point of letting kicker Jason Myers know that they had his back after rough outing.
On Monday night, players hoisted Myers onto their shoulders to celebrate the way he came through in the clutch in the Seahawks' 27-24 overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers.
For most of Monday's game, Myers did his job in what was a relatively uneventful night for him, making all three extra points while putting his kickoffs in the end zone to avoid returns. But then late in the fourth quarter, it became evident that the game could come down to the leg of a kicker who a week earlier missed an a extra point as well as a pair of field goals, including the potential game-winner at the end of regulation in an eventual overtime win over Tampa Bay. After that game, and in the days that followed, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and Myers' teammates were vocal about having their kicker's back.
And on Monday, Myers rewarded the faith his team showed in him, first by making a go-ahead 46-yard kick late in the fourth quarter to put the Seahawks ahead 24-21. Then after the game went to overtime, Myers came through again, drilling the game-winning 42-yarder at the end of overtime. Myers even made that kick twice for good measure, making what amounted to a practice kick moments earlier after 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan tried to ice him with a timeout just before the ball was snapped.
"What a great thrilling night for him to come through and make his kicks and make his winning kick and all that, and kick the ball deep all night long," Carroll said. "… It's a great illustration of his teammates supporting him throughout. In the locker room immediately last week they were supporting him, so that he would be ready to do this that we needed tonight and can come through. And ain't nothing better than coming through like that in the clutch. So we're thrilled by the night that he had."
As linebacker Bobby Wagner noted, it was important to have Myers' back last week because the position he plays makes him so susceptible to criticism for just one or a couple of mistakes. An offensive or defensive player, on the other hand, might have the occasional missed tackled or missed block or blown assignment get forgotten amidst dozens of other plays.
"When you watch kickers and they miss, everybody in the world gets to see them miss and everybody in the world gets to get on him," Wagner said. "But with us, we miss a tackle or miss a block, people might miss that. So it's important to let him know that, 'we all mess up, and just like you have our back, we have your back,' and he came through for us with the kicks today."
Added left tackle Duane Brown, "It's huge man. After last week, it's tough, sometimes kickers are kind of in their own worlds, so we just wanted to show him last week that we're a team, we've got his back. I told him after the game that he was going to make a lot more game-winners—I didn't know it was going to come this week—but when he hit the first one after they called time out, there was no doubt in my mind that he was going to make it. Hoisting him in the air, it's just an incredible feeling. I'm really happy for him and happy we have him."
For Myers, bouncing back from a tough week was as simple as sticking to his routine and trying to recapture the form that made him a Pro Bowler in 2018. And knowing how the world, and sports in particular, tend to work, Myers figured it wouldn't take long for him to be tested again after last week's subpar outing.
"All week I was trying to get my routine back and kind of work on a couple of things I wanted to work on," he said. "But I know how sports are, it always comes back around, and when a game like that happened last week, I knew it was going to happen again, so I was just preparing to get in that situation again."
Myers' ability to quickly and emphatically respond to adversity potentially has big ramifications not just in this game, but for the rest of the season. And to Carroll, this performance was also an illustration of why it is so important for players to be supportive of each other in tough times.
"I'm so fired up for him," Carroll said. "We've got a long season, we got so many kicks and so many games, we're going to be like this all year. He's going to have to keep making those kicks for us and he will. Fortunately, it didn't lose the game for us (last week), and here we go and we win the game with him. I hope you can see why it's so important to support your people and stay with them and hang with them and all that. To hang them out there and leave them out there and ostracize them or whatever, I don't even know how to think that way. So we loved him on through it and he came through and had a big night and, shoot, they were carrying him around the locker room in there. It was awesome."