As Lions fans, there have been very few things that make us feel comfortable throughout a game over the years. Thankfully, the kicking game is and has been something that generally puts our minds at ease, and that’s all thanks to one person: Matt Prater.
For the first time since Jason Hanson retired, there is a sense of calmness when the kicking team takes the field. Prater, affectionately called “Mr. Money in the Bank” from play-by-play voice Dan Miller, currently ranks ninth overall among NFL kickers in points scored this season with 25. What that stat doesn’t tell you is his efficiency. He has nailed all seven of his extra point attempts, and has also drilled all six of the field goal attempts he has taken. Despite the fact that we’re only three games into the season, Prater has also accomplished history already.
And we're only 3⃣ games in. pic.twitter.com/LL1M5xI6wL
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) September 25, 2017
Four of his six attempts so far this season have been from 55 or more yards, and he’s buried each one of them. Although there are three kickers who have made more field goals than Prater while also maintaining a 100% clip (Matt Bryant, Greg Zuerlein, and Graham Gano), none have enjoyed the same amount of success from 50 or more yards out. Since the beginning of last season, Prater has nailed all 11 of his attempts from 50 or more yards. Since his arrival in Detroit in 2014, he has hit 80 of his 92 attempts overall.
Also adding credibility to his resume was his ability to jump in and take over punting duties in the first game of the season against the Arizona Cardinals. When Kasey Redfern went down with an injury, Prater was forced into double duty. He capably took the reigns of the extra task, punting four times for a total of 139 yards.
This all begs the question: is Prater the best kicker in the NFL? I suppose the answer to that question completely depends on your criteria. In his defense though, you’d be pretty hard pressed to find another kicker in the league who has a better looking resume.