By: Ian Logue
Heading into Sunday’s showdown against the Ravens if history is any indication, the odds are pretty good that this will be a tough game that could come down to a field goal between two great football teams.
Mesko was a difference maker Sunday against Houston. (FILE:USPresswire)
When it comes to low scoring games every yard counts, as does starting field position. That being said, one thing that really stood out during their win over the Texans was how effective punter Zoltan Mesko was in terms of really helping the Patriots defense out after their offense sputtered and really could have given Houston great field position.
He’s been terrific all season, and he finished the afternoon with 5 punts for 264 yards (52.8 avg – 49.4 net) including two inside the 20. His longest one of the day went for 64 yards, which was extremely impressive considering New England punted from their own 15 yard line and put Houston all the way back on the other end of the field at their own 21.
Here’s a breakdown of his afternoon:
1) 1st QTR – 12:48: Patriots punt from their own 27 yard line. Punt goes for 61 yards with a 5 yard return, Texans start at their own 17.
2) 1st QTR – 6:00: Patriots punt from their own 35 yard line. Punt goes for 57 yards with a 12 yard return, and the Texans start at their own 20.
3) 2nd QTR – 0:31: Mesko punts from their own 30 yard line. Punt goes for 32 yards with no return, Texans start at their own 38.
4) 3rd QTR – 8:57: Patriots punt from their own 40 yard line. Punt goes for 50 yards and no return, Texans start at their own 10.
5) 4th QTR – 10:11: Patriots punt from their own 15 yard line. Punt goes for 64 yards and no return, Texans start at their own 21.
On three of Mesko’s five punts the Patriots punted from at or inside their own 30 yard line, two of which Mesko managed to pin the Texans at or inside their own 20. Granted this game ended up being more or less in hand, but against tougher opponents the swing in field position is huge because shorter kicks can lead to – at the very least – field goal attempts.
Against the Ravens that’s what it could come down to. But fortunately with a kicker like Mesko New England has the upper hand in at least making sure Baltimore will have longer to go on each drive.
That’s an asset that can’t be overlooked, and one that makes you really appreciate just how valuable he is to this football team.