Tennessee Titans’ kicker Ryan Succop’s postgame observation won’t warm the hearts of Chiefs fans, whose hearts need some warming after his 53-yard field goal on the game’s final play doomed their team to a 19-17 defeat on Sunday.
The stage: Succop put his right foot into the ball, only to have the kick come up short. The fans at Arrowhead Stadium cheered before they knew Chiefs coach Andy Reid had called a timeout, a typical play to freeze the kicker.
Succop picks up the story.
“The first ball, I thought, I really hit well,” he said. “When it’s like 10 degrees outside the ball obviously doesn’t travel the way that it normally would. You don’t get the compression. I felt like I hit the first one good, and when it came up short, there was a second in my mind where I didn’t think I could reach it from there.
“So, on the second one, I kind of just had to throw technique out the window and really hit it as hard as I could. I told some of the guys this earlier. You could give me 10 kicks from there, and I don’t know if I can make one.”
Succop now knows he can. The snap from Beau Brinkley, former Missouri long snapper and Kearney High standout, and hold were good. With all he had Succop re-launched and the ball sailed over the crossbar with a couple of yards to spare.
The former Chief had applied the dagger to his old team. Succop was the final player selected in the 2009 draft, and he gave the Chiefs five solid seasons. In August 2014, the Chiefs waived Succop and kept rookie Cairo Santos.
Succop was immediately snapped up by the Titans, and in his first game in a different uniform, he kicked four field goals against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium to help his team to an upset victory in the season opener.
After Sunday’s game, Succop met with several former teammates and joined a prayer circle with players from both teams.
“Even to this day, three years later, some of my best friends are in that (Chiefs) locker room,” Succop said.
Reid took the blame for the situation. After he called the timeout and watched the kick fall short, he dropped his head — and not to look at a play sheet.
“Listen, it didn’t work,” Reid said. “I’ve got to do better on that. It backfired.”
Santos had a feeling it might.
“He took the first kick and was able to make adjustments on the second,” Santos said.
The first kick turned out to be what Santos called “a practice kick,” and the Chiefs instruction to their kicking operation is to do exactly what Succop did — kick the ball even if you know a timeout has been called.
“That way you get a good look at it,” Santos said. “That’s what Tennessee did. They took their first kick and made the adjustments.”
And broke Chiefs fans’ hearts in the process.