Monday night, two days after Christmas, will be a chance for kicker Garrett Hartley to revisit some ghosts of the past.
In what was easily the biggest miss of Hartley’s young career, Hartley pulled a 29-yard, chip-shot field goal in overtime in week 3 against the Falcons.
His shank cost the team the win and cost Hartley – temporarily – his job.
“Going into that game I felt great coming off the San Fran game,” recalled Hartley. “I had just hit one to go into overtime and then missed the one. With what we’ve been able to accomplish the past few weeks, with Justin holding and Chase snapping and the protection being good, I just need to keep doing my part.”
Week three might as well have been three years ago. Hartley has since won his job back and has made 12 of his last 13 field goal attempts.
His lone field goal in the loss to the Ravens was a gleaming example of his new found stroke. It was a 47-yard draw that moved exactly as planned.
“The wind was blowing pretty stout from right to left,” he said of the kick. “I just started out on the right upright and it drew back in nicely for me. We practiced it all week in the same kind of wind and I went out there to execute and try to put up points.
Seven straight field goals has helped redeem Hartley from his early season slump although he welcomes the chance for more redemption Monday night against the Falcons. However, Hartley hopes he isn’t needed in a blow out win, but he’s ready if called upon.
“I’d like us to blow them out but at the same time if it comes to a situation like that, I’m going to be ready and learn from my mistakes by not rushing the kick and be ready to hopefully put it between the pipes.”