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Daniel Carlson overcomes miss to help save game, but not his hair

Updated November 20, 2022 - 9:04 pm

DENVER — Daniel Carlson lost his chance at history Sunday. He will now lose some hair as a result.

The Raiders kicker made three field goals in the second half of a 22-16 overtime victory over the Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High, including two from more than 50 yards and a 25-yarder with 16 seconds left in regulation to force OT.

It was his lone miss of the day, however, that ended his streak of 41 consecutive made field goals, three short of tying the NFL’s all-time record.

“It was fun to chase after,” Carlson said of coming up short of Adam Vinatieri’s mark, which was set in 2015 and 2016. “Obviously, when I’m older, I’m sure I’ll be like, ‘Dang, I wish I had gotten that.’ But I was able to come back and make a couple kicks later, and we got the win. That helps a lot.”

Carlson, who is from nearby Colorado Springs, said there was nothing about the conditions or the operation that threw him off. He missed a 46-yard attempt wide right early in the second quarter.

“I kind of jammed myself and pushed it,” he said. “It happens. It was going to happen eventually.”

Carlson hadn’t missed a field goal in more than a calendar year, on Nov. 7, 2021, in a road game against the Giants. His hair had grown quite a bit in the time, which had become quite a point of contention at home.

After going the rest of last season without a miss, Carlson decided not to cut his hair. It now hangs to about his shoulders, and he said his wife, Katherine, has been wanting him to cut it.

“I guess I have to cut it now,” he said. “That was kind of the deal with my wife.”

Punter AJ Cole, who has similarly long locks and serves as Carlson’s holder and comic foil, wasn’t thrilled with the news.

“I’m disappointed, obviously,” Cole said. “It will be nice to get some individuality back and kind of be my own person again, but it’s sad.”

With their hair taking on a similar shape, Cole said there has been confusion. A new teammate approached Cole on the sideline and congratulated him for the kick when Carlson had actually made the 57-yarder in the fourth quarter.

Carlson himself had received encouragement from teammates earlier in the game after he missed.

“Some of the guys were like, ‘Keep your head up,’” he said. “Especially some of the younger guys who hadn’t seen it in a while. But I’ve been doing this for so long. I’ve had lots of misses and lots of makes. It’s all about the next one. So I’m glad I was able to respond.”

Carlson, who was not given an opportunity to try from 56 yards at altitude and with a slight wind at his back in the first quarter, drilled a 52-yarder early in the third to tie the game 10-10.

Coach Josh McDaniels faced another decision on whether to send Carlson out for another chance to tie the game with 7:07 remaining in the fourth quarter for what would be a career-long 57-yard attempt. The usually mild-mannered Carlson was clearly lobbying to try, and he got his wish.

He made McDaniels’ decision pay off by booting it through with plenty to spare. Carlson’s third game-tying attempt of the second half was much shorter, but had massive implications as he trotted out for a 25-yarder in the closing seconds of regulation.

“Every kick matters, but you have to trust the operation, and those guys up front did a great job protecting, too,” Carlson said. “We blocked one of theirs down there earlier, and that’s the difference in the game. So the other 10 guys are as much a part of every kick as I am.”

Long snapper Trent Sieg said the entire group wanted the record for Carlson.

“I was just happy to be along for the ride,” Sieg said. “But now it’s a new streak, and it’s at three in a row. We’re on our way.

“I just hope he doesn’t take too much off. He looks way better with long hair.”

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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