- Previously covered University of Michigan for ESPN.com and AnnArbor.com
- Also covered Notre Dame for Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
DETROIT – Matt Prater watched the ball go through the uprights, got recognition from holder Jack Fox and then was enveloped in a hug.
It has been a tougher season than normal for Prater, one of the most consistent kickers in the NFL, but on Sunday he set an NFL record. By making a 54-yard field goal in the second quarter, Prater set an NFL record for most field goals of 50 yards or more made in a career. His 59th career field goal of 50 yards or longer passed former Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski on the all-time list.
Prater already holds the NFL record for longest field goal, at 64 yards, set in 2013.
After the kick, longtime long-snapper Don Muhlbach came up to him, hugged him, fist-pumped and let out a yell. Prater was mobbed by his special-teams teammates, and the normally stoic Prater showed emotion himself, too.
When it then was announced to the mostly empty Ford Field, Fox came over to embrace him again, as did defensive end Romeo Okwara.
This was a big kick for him in a season that he admitted earlier this week has not been a good one. He entered Sunday having made just 20 of 27 field goals — including 5 of 9 from 50 yards or further.
“For me, personally, it’s been frustrating,” Prater said. “I’ve missed some kicks that I expect to make. Been inconsistent, but I’m still hitting them strong and hitting them well. Just hasn’t been as consistent as I would like to be.”
Prater is in a contract year and would like to stay in Detroit, where he and his family have settled after signing with the club in 2014 after being cut by Denver.
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