Matt Gay continues Bucs kicking woes
Florida Football Insiders, published 23 September 2019

The Buccaneer kicking curse lives on in rookie Matt Gay, who missed a 34-yard field goal wide right on the final play to seal the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 32-31 loss to the Giants Sunday night.

This was on top of the one missed and one blocked extra point kicks earlier in the night. This is the last way anyone in Tampa Bay wants to see the Bucs lose, given the disastrous history of Bucs kicking. Gay went into this game having made all four extra points and three of his four attempted field goals, and was quickly becoming a fan favorite after there has been a revolving door of kickers over the last few seasons.

In a post game interview, coach Bruce Arians said he still felt confident that his rookie would knock the game winner through, even after struggling earlier in the night. Arians even told the media that he wanted to move Gay back and purposely took a delay of game penalty to move the ball back to the 17 yard line:

Gay has not lacked confidence since joining the Bucs roster, which was starting to rub off on the fanbase after he beat out Cairo Santos for the starting job in the preseason. After tonight, itís looking to be just more of the same in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers very famously drafted Roberto Aguayo out of Florida State trading up in the second round of the 2016 draft to try to correct the kicking problems. However, Aguayo was erratic in his rookie season, including leading the NFL in missed extra points.

Aguayo was released after the first preseason game of 2017 when he missed two field goals against Cincinnati. The Bucs at that time gave the kicking job to veteran Nick Folk, but Folk only lasted four games himself-making just six of 11 field goals, as he had privately been battling a leg injury from the start of the season.

Tampa Bay then turned back to their 2014 kicker, Patrick Murray, who ended up making 19 of 23 field goals over the course of the final 12 games. That led Bucs GM Jason Licht, who had drafted Aguayo, to go after Chandler Cantanzaro, who had kicked successfully for the Cardinals and the Jets. And, they gave him a $10 million dollar contract, including $3 million guaranteed in the first year.

Cantanzaro became more inconsistent, as the last few weeks wore on, and he had a three game stretch against Atlanta, Cleveland and Cincinnati, where he missed an extra point in each game. In the Browns game he missed the potential game-winning field goal in the last play of regulation, only to redeem himself with a 59-yard field goal for the win in overtime.

The final straw that ended his tenure with the Bucs was his two missed field goals in a defeat against by the Redskins. The first from near point blank range at 30 yards out in the second quarter and then, a 48-yard attempt that would have tied the game at 6-6 in the third quarter.

When Gay won the starting spot over Santos during the preseason, he became the teamís eighth new kicker for the Bucs in the six seasons. So if thereís one thing Buccaneer fans have learned, itís donít get too attached to the new guy kicking the ball towards the yellow goal posts. They got a cruel reminder Sunday night.