New place kicker Kai Forbath had quite the debut for the Washington Redskins, who signed him last Tuesday to replace a struggling Billy Cundiff.
The former UCLA standout drilled a 50-yard field goal early in the second quarter of Sunday’s 38-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings to kick off a 17-point scoring spree that gave the Redskins a 17-9 halftime lead.
Until the Forbath field goal, Washington’s offense hadn’t been able to sustain a drive. But after falling behind 9-0 late in the first quarter, the Redskins got the ball at their own 20 and moved it 51 yards to the Minnesota 29 before a penalty backed them up to the 34.
The drive stalled and facing fourth and 13 from the Minnesota 32, Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan sent Forbath on to attempt the 50-yarder.
“I’m a nice guy, aren’t I? Breaking in a kicker and his first kick is a 50-yarder?” Shanahan said with a chuckle. “I started thinking about that. I thought, ‘It’s not going to be very popular if he misses.’ Anyway, I was really pleased with the way he handled himself throughout the game. If you handle a situation like that, your first kick in the NFL and you’re kicking a 50-yard field goal and he nails it, it says a lot about him and hopefully he can keep it going.”
Forbath said that he wasn’t worried about kicking off his NFL career with a 50-yard attempt.
“I never go out there thinking I’m going to miss, because if you do, that’s when you’re going to miss. I said, ‘Just hit it like you do in warmups,’ and that’s what happened,” Forbath said. “I try not to kick it harder than I normally do, stay smooth and make good contact.”
That marked Forbath’s only field goal attempt of the game, but went 5 for 5 on extra-point attempts.
Forbath hadn’t kicked in a game since the preseason, when he went 5 for 5 for Tampa Bay. Those kicks represented his only NFL experience.
He had three practices to get synced up with holder Sav Rocca and long snapper Justin Snow, but the kicker said that the exchanges proceeded Sunday without a hitch.
“I’ve got two great veterans in operation, and I can’t complain about anything with that,” Forbath said.