Kai Forbath sets NFL record with 17-for-17 start

(Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

First-year kicker Kai Forbath remained perfect on the year and set the NFL record for consecutive field goals made to start a career with a pair of kicks in the first half of Washington’s win over the Eagles.

Playing in the 10th game of his career, Forbath made a 45-yard field goal, and then a 42-yarder to improve to 17-for-17.

With that 42-yard field goal – a kick that pulled the Redskins within 7-6 with 7:37 left in the second quarter – Forbath surpassed the record set by New Orleans’ Garrett Hartley over a span of the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

“It’s awesome,” said Forbath, a first-year player out of UCLA. “I couldn’t have asked for a better start and being with guys like [long-snapper] Nick Sundberg and [punter/holder] Sav Rocca, and having all the trust in them that they’ll get the ball down just makes my job a lot easier. I’ve been happy we’ve converted on all our attempts so far, and [I’m] going to take it one week at a time like we’ve been doing.”

Forbath had brought sorely-needed stability to a kicker position that saw the Redskins stage a preseason competition between Graham Gano and Neil Rackers before cutting both and going with Billy Cundiff just before the start of the regular season.

But Cundiff lasted only five games after missing five field goals. Washington signed Forbath, who was signed by Dallas in 2011 as an undrafted rookie, but got hurt and never kicked in a game that year. Forbath spent the preseason with Tampa Bay, making five of five field goals, including a 55-yarder, but lost out to veteran holdover Connor Barth.

Forbath caught on with Washington, and continues to deliver.

“It shows you what type of guy he is,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “He came in [Week 6 for a workout] competition from a couple of veterans, and won the competition. It’s always kind of nice to take a chance on a guy that hasn’t had an opportunity in the National Football League. … To see a guy that handles himself the right way have that type of success, you are always rooting for a guy like that. He’s a class guy. It looks like he has ice in his veins, and he believes that he is going to make every kick, and he has.”

Forbath said he pushed thoughts of the potential record out of his head, and maintained the same even keel with which he approaches his games and kicks.

But he admitted that on a windy day, his kicks caused a bit more anxiety as they traveled through the air.

“Well, today, me and Sav both kind of watched them for a little bit longer because of the wind that was holding it up a little bit,” he said. “I got nervous on the first one. I thought it might come up short. We did it like normal today. Wed didn’t react differently. Kind of in the back of our minds, we knew what was going on, but we didn’t make that an issue, and didn’t try to do anything different.”

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