ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.—Andrew Franks would be happy never talking to the media, but that’s unavoidable when you keep making game-winning kicks.
It’s been a choppy year for him, and Saturday afternoon’s game at Buffalo wasn’t especially smooth, but he hit a clutch kick to tie it regulation and gave Miami a 34-31 victory with a chip shot in overtime.
As Franks bashfully tried to talk through the rushed 55-yarder he made with running out in the fourth quarter, Ndamukong Suh thundered in with the only answer he needed.
“Franks,” he yelled from nearby. “Just tell them you the man. That’s all you gotta say.”
There’s not much worth adding. Franks was a hero in the locker room for the kicks that put his team within one game of the playoffs.
The tying field goal was more exciting than the winner. On the play before Franks’ 55-yard try, Matt Moore hit Damien Williams for a short completion on third down and Williams didn’t get out of bounds to stop the clock. There was a moment where he could have quickly stepped out, but he kept fighting for yards hoping to get a first down.
He was tackled with about 20 seconds remaining and the clock running, which was a problem because Miami has no timeouts.
“I was stuck in a hard spot because it was third down,” Williams said. “You want to get the first down so we can keep going, but we were pressed for time. I’m trying to put my team in position to win, which we did.”
He admitted, though, it was tense watching the field goal unit set up and get the snap off with 10 seconds left.
For those involved, however, the operation was calm. Franks wasn’t aware of anything other than where punter Matt Darr set up for the hold. He didn’t hear Rex Ryan screaming for a freeze-the-kicker timeout, and neither did the officials.
“We were good,” Darr said nonchalantly. “We were checking the game clock and play clock. All the guys were set. Snap, hold, kick. Just business as usual.”
Franks hit from 57 yards in at that end zone, the one in which the wind was behind him, and felt good about the ball as it left his foot.
“I was watching it go in like, ‘All right, I really hope I got that extra yard,’” he said. “The worst thing you could see is it hit the crossbar and be short, so you’re hoping a little bit, but I had confidence.”
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