For much of last season whenever Nick Folk trotted on for another field goal I, along with probably tons of other Jets fans, all uttered something along the lines of "Oh one of Rex Ryan’s favorite four letter words during Hard Knocks and something I can’t print, not Nick Folk." Folk was scary bad at times last season, missing kicks in 7 games and going 2 for 5 on kicks against Cleveland. The paralysis I had at the thought of him facing a long kick that would be the difference in the first round game against the Colts last year in the playoffs was indescribable. However after Sunday night, the tide may have turned.
Nick Folk 50-yard FG for the Win (via JetsHighlights)
The fifty-yard game winner he nailed against Dallas on Sunday night was the furthest thing from a chip shot. While many were panicking, or forming a prayer circle amongst the front rows on Section 302 (which actually seemed to work, the Jets were awesome when we tried it) Folk approached the kick with the calm and coolness of a seasoned vet, and nailed it, giving peace of mind and victory, to the Jets and their fans. While watching Folk last year could be used in a medical study on individuals experiencing extreme stress, one cannot ignore the clutch kicks that he made towards the end of last year and the Dallas game winner. Against Indy and Dallas specifically Folk was able to put aside the past and focus on the only thing that mattered, conquering the mental part of kicking, and then splitting the uprights.
Folk certainly faces a topsy-turvy schedule at least in terms of field goals, with the Jets playing in sunny, warm, and easy to kick in San Diego, Oakland, and Miami this year. The schedule is tough with plenty of cold weather, and definitely windy, games late in the year, but with a visit to the thin air of Denver in week 11, Jets fans can look forward to what is a schedule that does not challenge Folk’s leg too much. The new kickoff rule certainly benefits him, as he, along with every other kicker in the NFL, can now boot it out of the end zone if need be. With these new rules it seems that the season is shaping up to be a good one for Nick Folk, giving the Jets a sense of newfound confidence in their kicker to make clutch kicks. Finally.