Indianapolis Colts kicker Chase McLaughlin was no stranger to either team when the Colts took the field against the Minnesota Vikings in their December 16th match-up. McLaughlin, who connected on five field goals in the overtime loss, had been signed and cut by each the Vikings and the Colts at one point in the last four years. Despite the loss, McLaughlin was one of the few bright spots for the Colts in the game. Along with the five field goals of 26, 27, 28, 49 and 52 yards, McLaughlin connected on all three of his extra-point tries en-route to a season high 18 points.
Getting the chance
In the first quarter of the season, then head coach of the Colts Frank Reich, made the not-so surprising decision to cut struggling kicker Rodrigo Blankenship. Blankenship had made enough mistakes to get released, opening the door for McLaughlin to make his return to the team. The Colts signed both McLaughlin and rookie kicker Lucas Havrisik to compete for the job.
“I had to fly home from Kansas City and that night I got home around 2 a.m., then I had to be in the building at 7 a.m. to work out.” McLaughlin said on the whirlwind process in an interview with James Boyd of The Athletic
The competition had to be quick, both were signed on early in the week and thanks to his prior experience with the team and a good performance, McLaughlin earned the job. So far for the Colts, the decision has paid off.
In just his third game with the Colts, McLaughlin had his coming out party. In the Thursday night match-up on October 6th, the Colts took the Denver Broncos to overtime off a late fourth quarter field goal from McLaughlin. The Colts went on to secure the victory when McLaughlin connected on a 48 yarder for the win. McLaughlin ended the game a perfect 4-4 on field goal attempts, accounting for every point scored in the contest and was the first Colt since Adam Vinatieri to connect on two 50-yard field goals in the same game. For his efforts McLaughlin earned AFC Special Teams player of the week.
This season McLaughlin has brought stability to the Colts kicking position not seen since Vinatieri retired. This season McLaughlin has hit over 80 percent of his field goal attempts going 22 of 27, and so far, has been perfect on the season for extra points. Most impressively, McLaughlin has gone 8-11 on field goals of 50 plus yards this season. In an interview with Colts Radio’s Matt Taylor, McLaughlin talked about the confidence one must have to make those 50 yarders, and how he has the confidence not only in himself, but his teammates.
McLaughlin hopes the stability and success he has brought to the Colts special teams’ unit will allow him to do what he has never done in his short career, play for a team in consecutive seasons. So far in his four-year career McLaughlin has had 10 stints with eight teams and has been cut nine different times.
In his interview with Boyd, McLaughlin spoke on the struggles of bouncing around from team to team. McLaughlin told Boyd he was living out of suitcases. When McLaughlin wasn’t couch surfing with teammates, he was staying in hotels.
“Just lots of moving around and lots of not knowing what’s gonna happen. It’d be great to have a team believe in me and stick with me.” McLaughlin said.
After his play this season, the Colts may decide to be that team.