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Raiders notebook: Kicking game not up to par

  • Tennessee Titans strong safety Bernard Pollard, right, watches as Oakland Raiders place kicker Sebastian Janikowski (11) misses a 32-yard field goal during the second quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

OAKLAND — The home team has been booed in this stadium many times over the past decade, but one person who has been spared the ire of Raider Nation is Sebastian Janikowski. At least, he was until Sunday, when the home crowd turned on the struggling placekicker.

Janikowski has been one of the NFL's best kickers for years, and he was all but automatic over the previous two seasons, connecting on 62 of 69 field-goal attempts. But he has missed that many already this year, going 15 of 22.

Even Seabass' successes were dicey Sunday. He hit a 48-yarder on a line drive that never got more than 20 feet off the ground, and a 52-yarder that barely had enough distance — not something we've come to expect from the guy who shares the league record for longest field goal at 63 yards.

Oakland Raiders vs. Tennessee Titans

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Most troubling, Janikowski has been missing even the short ones. His misfires against the Titans included a 32-yarder. Sunday marked just the fourth time in his career than Janikowski missed two field goals from inside of 50 yards in a game, and just the second time since 2002.

"We're not making them, not consistently enough," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "We have to continue to work to get better there. I feel like Sebastian is gonna work through this. I still have all the confidence that when I send him out there that it's going through."

Janikowski is 35, but the real culprit might be the departure of his longtime friend and holder, punter Shane Lechler, who signed with Houston in the offseason. No one has said so publicly, but there is speculation Janikowski is struggling to adjust to his new holder, punter Marquette King.

"I'd say it's a field-goal unit problem," Allen said. "There are 11 guys out there, it's not all on one guy. We have to improve in that area — snap, hold, kick, protection. The goal is to get the ball through the uprights, and there are 11 guys who are responsible to make sure that happens."

<b>HAND ON THE BALL</b>

The Raiders were leading 9-6 in the second quarter when Jeremy Stewart came up with what might have been the special-teams play of the day, breaking through to block a punt by Tennessee's Brett Kern.


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