Gramatica Regains Superhero Status
Martin Gramatica did more than win a game Sunday. ``Gramatica saved a lot of people's [butts] today,'' right tackle Kenyatta Walker said.
That includes a field goal unit that has struggled in recent weeks. It started with the Oct. 13 game against Cleveland, when bad snaps and a blocked field goal left nine points on the field and cost a long snapper his job. Then there was last week against Philadelphia, when Gramatica missed a 29- yard attempt. Gramatica put the past behind him in the first quarter when he nailed a 32-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead. ``Especially with the week I had last week, missing the short one, kicking an early one just to get the confidence up, that helped for sure,'' Gramatica said.
He followed with 52- and 53-yard field goals prior to his winning 47-yard kick. ``I think I might buy him some dinner here soon,'' wide receiver Joe Jurevicius said. ``The man was unbelievable. It's in their family. They've got some great kickers in their family.''
Last week, Bill Gramatica kicked the overtime winner for Arizona. Against Carolina on Oct. 6, he kicked the winner in the Cardinals' 16-13 victory. ``I'm not too happy with the Gramatica brothers,'' Panthers strong safety Mike Minter said.
Opponents might not appreciate Gramatica, but his teammates do. ``We got our kicker back and better than that, we've got a snapper,'' defensive tackle Warren Sapp said. ``[Ryan] Benjamin did a great job for us snapping the ball, putting it right where he was supposed to. We protect and Martin's like Barry [Bonds]. He's going to hit it through the uprights.''
Gramatica informs Jon Gruden when he thinks the offense has moved into his range. On Sunday, they didn't have to move to far past midfield. ``I felt good today,'' Gramatica said. ``If it's 52 yards, I'm going to give it a shot. Thank God I made it because then [Gruden] might not believe me next time. Fifty-three was it today. I maxed out.''