Matt Gay comes up big in upset over Rams
Eduardo Encina, Tampa Bay Times, published 30 September 2019

Matt Gay needed just one week to take a kick at his critics. After missing two extra points and a potential game-winning field goal in last Sunday’s loss to the New York Giants, Gay converted nine of nine kicks in the Bucs’ 55-40 upset road win over the Los Angeles Rams.

Gay converted both of his field-goal attempts on Sunday, and both of them came in pressure situations. His biggest boot was his career-high 58-yard field goal with two seconds remaining, a conversion that gave the Bucs a two-score lead, 31-20 at halftime.

After the Rams made it a one-possession game late, 45-40, Gay booted a 21-yard field goal to extend the lead to eight. “It’s huge and so is the confidence we have in the guy," Bucs coach Bruce Arians said. "He knows we have confidence. He’s not going anywhere. This kid’s talented. One kick doesn’t define you.”

After Gay’s rocky day against the Giants, Bucs coach Bruce Arians showed his faith in Gay. And Arians felt the heat himself this past week having to explain why he took a five-yard delay of game penalty before Gay’s kick went wide by less than the distance of two footballs. And Arians showed faith in Gay by allowing him to convert a kick from the midfield logo just before halftime. Gay booted a line drive kick with plenty of distance between the uprights.

“Especially after last week, being able to stick with me and have confidence in me, and then throwing me out there for a long one, that’s shows that he trusts me and he believes in me,” Gay said. “And that gets you going more than anything, knowing that your coach and your team is behind you. Just being able for him to send me out for the long one, that means a lot too.”

Gay’s kick tied for the third longest in Bucs history. Kyle Brindza made a 58-yards, Chandler Catanzaro made a 59-yard overtime winner against Cleveland last season, and Matt Bryant converted a 62-yard field goal.

“I really try to focus on making every kick the same, and making sure I’m not putting any extra on it or swinging more than I need to because that’s when you start getting into some issues and things like that,” Gay said. “Just really going through my process. I hit some long ones in warmup and I felt comfortable going into that kick. Great snap. Great hold and I was able to put it through.”

Gay didn’t made a kick from longer than 56 yards in college at Utah. Gay’s previous high was a 52-yard conversion last week. His longest in the preseason was 55 yards. That his day came against one of the league’s top kickers, the Rams’ Greg Zuerlein, is an interesting subnote.