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Wil Lutz shows he can handle the Hurricane kick field goal


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Lutz: “To leave that game 4 for 4 (in field goal attempts) after all the stress that went on in that game, it was hard to take it all in.”

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — At the moment Wil Lutz was traded from New Orleans to the Broncos just prior to the start of this season, the field goal fire drill despite his going on eight seasons of NFL experience was foreign to him.

A couple minutes after he arrived and shook hands with a few of his new teammates, though, Lutz got his first hint the hurry-up field goal was going to be part of his new team’s and old coach’s repertoire.

“It’s kind of funny, I’ve never hit it — we call it, ‘Hurricane,’ here — but I’ve never hit one in my career,’’ Lutz said this week for the Broncos Huddle show on 9NEWS. “And we hit two in one game.’’

Indeed, the Broncos called ‘Hurricane’ for the final play of the first half Monday at Buffalo as they had no timeouts. After Lutz and his field goal unit hurried onto the field, long snapper Mitch Fraboni let it rip with 2 ticking seconds remaining. Riley Dixon quickly put it down and Lutz calmly hit a 40-yard field goal that sent the Broncos into their halftime locker room up, 15-8.

“My first kick here as a Denver Bronco in my first practice they say, ‘Hey we’re going to work, ‘Hurricane,’’’ Lutz said. “I hadn’t even worked with a snap and hold, yet. I thought, ‘This is kind of funny.’

“You laugh but you look at it, it shows the attention to detail – we work it every Friday; not as a team but the three of us (Fraboni, holder Riley Dixon and Lutz) — and man, the way we executed it at the end of the half was perfection. I’m proud of the guys for that.

“And then we executed it well at the end of the game. Obviously, I’ve got to do my part there but the execution was outstanding and it’s a testament to coaching.”

Down 22-21, again with no timeouts but this time with a comfortable 24 seconds remaining, Broncos head coach Sean Payton again called, ‘Hurricane.’ But this time Lutz pushed his 41-yard field goal wide right.

Hold on. The Bills, confused by their counterpart’s Hurricane chaos, had 12 men on the field. Bills’ edge rusher Leonard Floyd didn’t leave the field, thinking the defense was staying. A 5-yard penalty gave Lutz a mulligan, and this time he drilled the 36-yard field goal down the middle as the clock struck 0:00. The Broncos were victorious, 24-22, the Lutz boot setting off joyous, white-dressed pandemonium first on the field and then in the visitors’ postgame locker room.

“That wasn’t how I drew it up but you play long enough in this league you deserve a little luck every now and then,’’ Lutz said. “Grateful to get another shot at that and to win it.”

Lutz, a gentlemanly, soft-spoken, unimposing sort as football players go, started kicking with the Saints for Payton in 2016. He is an uncommon kicker who after a difficult game is not afraid to take full blame – as he did when he missed an extra point and 55-yard field goal attempt in the Broncos’ season-opening, 17-16 loss to Las Vegas.

Lutz was tough on himself again Monday night after his missed extra point and end-of-game field goal adventure that was wiped out by penalty. Many if not most kickers don’t like to have any negative thoughts travel from brain to tongue in their postgame interviews. It’s all about forgetting the bad and re-focusing on what’s ahead.

Lutz will own it before moving on.

“I take a lot of pride in what I do,’’ Lutz said. “Take a lot of pride in what I’ve done in this league and everybody works hard and every player makes mistakes. There’s no hiding from that. I don’t think running from it is the key. Failure is 100 percent in this industry and it’s OK. I’ve done a lot of good things in my career and some things haven’t gone my way, either. That’s part of the business.”

Which explains why after finessing the 41-yard field goal attempt that floated wide, Lutz with his second chance pummeled his next kick. The game-winning, 36-yarder crushed the upper middle of the net a good 15 yards behind the goal posts.

“Yeah, tough conditions in Buffalo,’’ Lutz said. “Man, to leave that game 4 for 4 (in field goal attempts) after all the stress that went on in that game, it was hard to take it all in. But never give a kicker a second chance and I hit that second one as hard as you can possibly kick, more out of frustration than anything.”

Despite his mostly positive first-time, and then second-time experience with the ‘Hurricane,’ Lutz is not lobbying Payton to regularly do it from now on. Taking time to set up is still the most comfortable method.

“I will say that in that circumstance if we would have gotten set, they probably wouldn’t have 12 men on the field,’’ Lutz said. “The fact we did hurry on there forced them to make a mistake and in the end it saved us. Sometimes, I think it is nice to line up and swing away, but every situation’s different.”



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Wil Lutz shows he can handle the Hurricane kick field goal

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