The Detroit Lions have had stability at kicker for the last 40 years minus a few blips on the radar screen, and the hope is that the team isn’t about to enter a new blip phase starting now.
Wednesday, it was revealed that the Lions would be losing kicker Matt Prater to the Arizona Cardinals. According to reports, Prater is signing a two-year deal with the Cardinals and defecting to the desert to take over kicking duties there.
The news was first reported by NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport.
Prater leaving the Lions isn’t a shock, as when Detroit signed former Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Matthew Wright earlier this offseason, it became a signal that the team may want to go younger at the spot. Even such, it’s tough to replace a player like Prater given his consistency through the years and what he has meant to kicking in Detroit.
Prater came to the Lions to settle things down after the disaster following the retirement of Jason Hanson and did just that. He should be commended for his work in the Motor City.
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Prater’s 2020 Statistics
In spite of continuing to look consistent and set records, Prater has been far from consistent this season, only connecting on 20 of 27 kicks for a 74% conversion rate in 2020. He also has only connected on 36 of 38 extra points, missing a pair coming into Week 17, That’s lower than his normal percentages. Even such, Prater has been good overall, hitting four kicks from 50 yards or more this season and also nailing the game winning extra point against the Atlanta Falcons earlier this year. Though Prater hasn’t been as consistent, he is still good and remains one of the NFL’s best kickers as this stat helps to prove moving forward for the team.
Prater will now get to put that to the test in Arizona.
Prater’s Career Statistics
Prater isn’t likely to slow down even though he has aging and has struggled in 2020. Though the crash for kickers tends to be abrupt, he has shown no signs of hitting a wall whatsoever and has been consistent on the whole overall this season. At age 35, Prater could just be getting started in terms of making an impact on the game given what he has already done. At 83.4%, Prater is one of the more consistent kickers the game has to this day in terms of sheer accuracy and ability to make clutch, game winning kicks. He also has the longest field goal in NFL history from 63 yards. He’s also been consistent in terms of extra points, even as the league has changed how that play works and has attempted to make it more difficult on kickers in order to make the game more exiting.
Prater enjoyed a solid tenure with he Lions, and in spite of everything, continued to etch his name in the record books and provide stable kicking in Detroit.
As he makes his move elsewhere, Lions fans will wish him good luck.
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