Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos wasn’t working the calculator in his head, just taking orders.
When Chiefs coach Andy Reid sent his kicker on the field to line up a 51-yard field goal with 2:16 remaining, Santos knew the boot wouldn’t get the Chiefs within a score of the Cincinnati Bengals.
But neither would a touchdown.
The Chiefs, trailing by 18 were going to need a miraculous combination of scores in the final few ticks to draw even with the Bengals, and a field goal was going to part of that equation.
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“(Reid) understands the game better that I do, so I just trust whatever decision he makes,” Santos said.
That decision produced Santos’ team-record seventh field goal but pulled the Chiefs only three points closer in a 36-21 loss.
Santos became the seventh kicker in NFL history with at least seven field goals in a game. He’s the first to do it in a losing effort.
The NFL record of eight was set by Rob Bironas of the Tennessee Titans in a 38-36 victory over the Houston Texans in 2007. The Chiefs’ record of six was held by Ryan Succop at New Orleans in 2012.
Santos didn’t miss an attempt on Sunday, but he would have preferred one-point kicks to three-pointers.
“It’s always great to go out there and perform well and do your job whenever the offense needs you,” said Santos, who joined the Chiefs last season as a rookie from Tulane. “I would have been happier if I would have gotten seven extra points and won the game instead of field goals.”
Santos’ longest boots, from 51 yards in the second and fourth quarters, were into the wind. The sun was out throughout the game with a 5 mph wind at kickoff. Between the third and fourth quarter, Santos came on to the field and got a sense of the breeze.
“It was kind of rough day kicking with the weather, but we got through it,” Santos said.
Each operation went smoothly with holder Dustin Colquitt and long snapper James Winchester doing their jobs.
The only demerit for Santos came after his sixth field goal, from 29 yards in the fourth quarter. He shanked the ensuing kickoff out of bounds, setting up Cincinnati’s final touchdown.
“I’ve never shanked a ball like that on the kickoff before, so I’ve got to go watch film,” Santos said.
Most field goals in a game
Team vs. opponent
Tennessee vs. Houston
Kansas City vs. Cincinnati
Cincinnati vs. Baltimore
Dallas vs. N.Y. Giants
Dallas vs. Green Bay
Minnesota vs. L.A. Rams
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh