Jets kicker Chandler Catanzaro kicked the season off on the right foot figuratively, and literally.
Not only did Catanzaro boot the ball out of the end zone for a touchback on the first play of the regular season, but he also converted on a pair of field goals in the second quarter against the Bills.
The first was a 48-yarder that put the Green & White on the board followed by a 52-yarder with 1:49 remaining in the half that cut the deficit to 7-6. The 52-yard boot was more than Catanzaro's sixth career field goal over 50 yards — it was the longest field goal by a Jets kicker in Buffalo and the first Jets 50-plus yarder in Orchard Park since 2011 (Nick Folk).
"I just did my job. I know it's a 48- and 52-yarder, but I've done this long enough to know you're only as good as your last kick," he said. "I'm just looking forward to Sunday and keep on moving on. It was a good start. I'm thankful those kicks went through, but I'm only as good as my next one. It's a next kick mentality for me, but the routine felt good."
Entering his fourth season, Catanzaro is looking to bounce back from a down year. He sustained early success in Arizona as he converted on 89.1% of his field goals and 94.1% of his extra points in his first two years in the league. But with four different long snapper/holder combinations last season, the Clemson product's numbers dropped to 75% and 91.5%, respectively.
"What you're looking for as a kicker is the same thing every time," he said. "It's that muscle memory so when you have two guys that do it as well as Lachlan and Thomas, you can get into a rhythm and that's what it's all about, getting into a groove.
"Last year I found it difficult to find a rhythm with all the changes in personnel and it threw off the tempo a little bit. It all happens in 1.2 seconds, so it's pretty hard to adjust sometimes. I did the best I could, but the statistics weren't nearly up to my standards. I hold myself to a very high standard and those statistics weren't near that. I'm looking forward to a big year this year and helping this team win some games."
Former Jets kicker and current CBS analyst Jay Feely believes the personnel changes impacted Catanzaro's confidence in the operation, which in turn affected the outcome of the kick. He said Catanzaro's confidence, along with a more consistent operation, will help him regain his 2014-15 form.
"Well, he's a very talented kicker," Feely said. "He's got a great leg and had a really good start to his career in Arizona and had one bad year. He's a guy that I think in the right circumstance can get back to that form. He's one of the best kickers in the NFL and he does a really good job of handling his emotions, the ebbs and flows of being a kicker. I think having a veteran kicker is such a big presence for the young Jets."