GREEN BAY, Wis. — Garrett Hartley was confident when he trotted out for what could have been a game-winning field goal in the final minutes of the New Orleans Saints’ game with the Green Bay Packers.
After making two short field goals in the second half, all Hartley had to do to give the Saints a two-point lead with less than three minutes to play was split the uprights from 43 yards out.
He nailed the kick and quickly embraced holder Chase Daniel before learning that tight end David Thomas had been called for holding — nullifying the kick.
The Saints got five of the yards back on an encroachment penalty against the Packers, setting Hartley up this time from 48 yards. But his kick sailed wide of the left upright with 2:49 to play, preserving the Packers’ 28-27 victory.
Hartley, who misfired on a 38-yard attempt in the Saints’ 27-24 overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last week, offered no excuses after his miss which all but sealed the Saints’ fate even though the Packers needed one more first down to run out the clock.
“You just have to rewind and regroup and your thought process, whatever that might be, and go out there and execute,” Hartley said of having to make the kick again. “This time, that didn’t happen.”
Then again, Hartley said that’s the life of a kicker.
“It definitely is,” he said. “At the same time, you strive and want to be in that position — walking out there with all the confidence in the world. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out this time.”
Hartley said the snap-hold operation of the kick was perfect.
“It was just a flat miss. … Protection, like I said, was great,” he noted. “I felt great coming into the ball. It left my foot and it felt good, and then I saw it tailing left.”
When asked about how close he came to making it, Hartley said that was little consolation.
“It’s either good or it’s not … there’s no in between,” he said. “If it’s close, it doesn’t matter. I know what my job is, and it didn’t happen this time.
“Obviously, it’s disappointing personally knowing that I let these guys down that fought and battled throughout (the game).”
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