In a season where NFL kickers are getting cut about as often as they’re missing easy kicks, we haven’t been graced with many highlights of special teams players making absolutely garbage attempts to play tackle football. Finally, thanks to 40-year-old Seattle Seahawks kicker Sebastian Janikowski, we can sit back and enjoy another installment of “Kickers Trying to be Football Players.”
Janikowski, the former No. 17 overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft out of Florida State University, sent a left-legged bomb down to San Francisco 49ers’ kick returner Richie James Jr. The speedy rookie caught a seam, zoomed across the 50-yard line with one man to beat, and all that remained was a pathetic, horrid, laughable tackle attempt from the Seahawks kicker.
The Polish-born kicker has made 19 tackles during his 18-year NFL career, mainly with the Oakland Raiders before coming to Seattle this season. On Sunday afternoon, tackle number 20 got away from him in hilarious fashion.
Janikowski made a business decision to steer clear, and this miss wide left on a 97-yard touchdown is sure to live in infamy on his highlight reel.
After missing the extra point attempt on Seattle’s opening score of the game — a 5-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Doug Baldwin — the miss must have stuck with the veteran kicker on the ensuing kickoff return because whatever this was, it definitely wasn’t an attempted tackle.
On a day in Santa Clara, California where San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould went 4-for-4, including the game-winning field goal, in a 26-23 overtime win, it was Janikowski whose blunder actually earned the last laugh inside Levi’s Stadium.
Sometimes a missed tackle can go unnoticed. When you’re the last man standing, and a kid who six years old when you started playing pro football makes you look like the oldest man on the field, you’re going to get noticed in a hurry.
Two big misses by “Seabass” in a span of about five minutes might have cost the Seahawks (8-6) in Sunday’s game, but at least one win against the Kansas City Chiefs or Arizona Cardinals will still clinch the franchise its seventh playoff appearance in nine seasons under head coach Pete Carroll.
Hopefully Janikowski gets a few open field tackling drills in before that happens. Just in case…