Some year, Matt Prater's leg is not going to be able to bomb 50-yard field goals. But this year is not that year. For that, the Cardinals are thankful.
"In Matt's case, I was around him 10 years ago (in Denver)," assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers said. "You can look at what his leg strength looks like now versus then and it's the same. I've also been around guys where you start to see the decline of leg strength. Matt hasn't entered that phase yet."
The 39-year-old Prater has booted six field goals of at least 50 yards this season. And these aren't barely that length, they are stretching the field. He does have one from 51 yards, but the other five are from 54, 55, 56, 57 and 62 -- the latter tying his own franchise record.
Prater continues to build on his own record for most 50-yard field goals in NFL history, with 77 total. He is 18-for-23 from that range since arriving in Arizona in 2021, and already has more 50-yard field goals than anyone in franchise history.
This season, Prater has only missed two of his 21 field-goal tries. One was from 55 yards at home against the Giants, a kick that nearly hit the left upright and missed by the slimmest of margins. The other was from 34 yards in Seattle after a bad hold left Prater kicking the laces.
With six games left in the season, that mark should grow, although weather likely will play a factor. The Cardinals have three home games left -- perfect conditions for the long kicks -- but the three remaining road games will be outdoors in Pittsburgh, Chicago and Philadelphia. The former two are infamous for being difficult places to kick, especially as the weathers turns.
Then again, betting against Prater from long range might not be a good idea.
"He's still got a strong leg, high confidence for the long ball," Rodgers said. "A little bit like Steph Curry back there. Somewhat if he can see the field goal, he's ready to kick it."