When Drew Brees took a knee and the clock finally zeroed out on Sunday, Wil Lutz made a beeline for the opposite sideline.
Browns kicker Zane Gonzalez had just missed a 52-yard attempt, his fourth miss of the day, that would have tied up things and sent New Orleans and Cleveland into overtime.
Gonzalez was sitting on the bench, head down, and Lutz leaned down and talked to him before patting his back and heading for the locker room.
Lutz, who missed a 44-yard attempt earlier in Sunday’s game, understands the precarious position Gonzalez is in now in a league where a kicker’s shelf life can be short.
“It’s a nasty, nasty business,” Lutz said. “I hate it for him, he’s one heck of a kicker. I know him personally, he’s done an amazing job every time I’ve been around him. I really hate that for him.”
Lutz, now in his third year with the Saints, has carved out his role as an established kicker in the NFL by erasing his mistakes with makes.
After missing his first 44-yarder from the left hash, Lutz buried his second attempt from that distance from the right hash.
“It’s a big kick,” Lutz said. “When you miss, it is always in the back of your head. You always gotta make the next one.”
Lutz has never missed two kicks in a row in the NFL.
“It’s about bouncing back,” Lutz said. “It wasn’t the best performance. You can’t miss two in a row, and survival mode is a bit of a real thing. … It was a big-time kick.”
Follow Joel A. Erickson on Twitter, @JoelAErickson.
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