Andrew Franks was an unlikely hero in the Dolphins’ 34-31 overtime victory against the Buffalo Bills on Saturday.
The second-year kicker scored the final six points in Miami’s 34-31 comeback victory, making the game-winning 27-yard field goal with 47 seconds left in overtime after drilling a career-long 55-yarder to tie the score with six seconds remaining in regulation.
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Franks atoned for hitting the upright on a 46-yard attempt that would have given the Dolphins a 10-point lead with 10:20 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“Apparently, 46 is not my lucky number,” said Franks, referencing the 46-yard field goal he missed three weeks ago in the loss at Baltimore. “I hit that ball well, I thought. Getting out there and redeeming myself was huge for me.”
Frank hasn’t been great on field goals this season, missing five of his 21 attempts. His longest made field goal was 41 yards in the season opener at Seattle, and he hadn’t made one from longer than 27 yards in the Dolphins’ past six games.
The two made field goals were as many as Franks had in the Dolphins’ previous five games combined. His longest field goal over that stretch was 27 yards. Last week Franks missed an extra point for the first time this season.
But the Dolphins were confident Franks could hit from 55 yards out with the game on the line.
“I know Andrew has got a big leg, but I knew it would be close,” quarterback Matt Moore said. “I knew he had a shot and, sure enough, he put it through, which was a big hit.”
Kicking in the cold and swirling winds of Buffalo’s New Era Field is more difficult than doing it in the bubble at the Dolphins’ practice facility, but Frank said the conditions didn’t affect him much.
“It was a little chilly,” he said. “I think about 56, 57 was the longest I hit in warmups and, you know, the wind sort of helped it.”
Franks said he “hit a really pure ball” on the kick, and holder Matt Darr said he knew the kick was good even as soon as Franks hit it.
“I knew he had plenty of power on it,” Darr said.
Franks wasn’t confident in the kick but waited for it to go through the uprights before celebrating.
“Watching it go in, I really hoped I got that extra yard in there,” Franks said. “The worst thing you want to see is it hit the crossbar and be short.”
Bills coach Rex Ryan tried to ice Franks by calling timeout at the last second before the snap, but the timeout was not granted.
“The guy on the sideline who was standing next to coach said that Coach Ryan had not called timeout before the snap,” referee Craig Wrolstad told a pool reporter after the game.
Franks’ big day came in contrast to former Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter’s struggles. Carpenter badly missed on a 45-yard attempt in overtime and also missed a 46-yarder in the first quarter. He made one from 28 yards in the fourth quarter.
After hitting from 55 yards, Franks had no trouble with the 27-yarder, his second career game-winner.
“It feels pretty good, I guess,” he said. “For us, we’re just trying to go 1-0 and any way I can help, I’m trying to do that.”