Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE
Panthers kicker Justin Medlock has been patiently waiting for his chance to shine all season. The kicker had only attempted two field goals before going to Chicago and now he was lining up a potential game winner from 45 yards out. Unfortunately he also faced a wicked left to right gusting cross wind. They don't call it the windy city for nothing.
Aiming for the left upright Medlock explains what he was thinking as he lined it up:
Medlock nearly kicks Panthers to victory
"Before the game I said, ‘Anything from 45 to 50 yards on that left hash is going to one of the toughest kicks on the whole field,' " Medlock said. "You have to hold it off and not let it turn over. I hit it good, but right away, I was like, ‘Oh no, it's going to turn.'
As you know Medlock's fifth field goal of the day was barely good, banking off the right upright after starting out towards the left one.
Luckily, it was good by an inch."
If only it had been enough. Medlock would have lined up for a similar kick, albeit a few yards further back right be fore the end of the half but HC Ron Rivera declined to give Medlock the opportunity:
"Because of the crosswind the ball was going to get pushed, so we decided our best bet was to throw it to the end zone and see what happened," Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said. "In hindsight. you can say that maybe we should have gone ahead and tried it. But that's kind of like when we kicked the ball short and out of bounds, in hindsight you could say we should have gone for it. It's easy to second-guess at this point."
While I agree it was a log shot of kick when you consider the wind it certainly had to be better than the Hail Mary Newton winged well past the end zone. I guess it could have been blocked or any of a number of bad things could have happened. But Medlock appeared to suggest he would have liked to have given it a try:
Medlock said the kick would have been at the absolute outer limit of his range given the blustery conditions, but the decision understandably came up after a one-point loss.