When the kick goes up in Buffalo, it's usually good. That's been the case for over a decade, but now Dan Carpenter holds the reins.
Acquired at the beginning of the season, Carpenter is a sixth-year player who Miami released after five years with the organization.
His arrival five days before Buffalo's season opener rescued a team with an uncertain kicking future. Dustin Hopkins, the rookie who supplanted Rian Lindell as the team's kicker, sustained a groin injury on Sept. 2. The team's first game was Sept. 8 against New England.
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"Obviously it's an unfortunate situation, where you never want anybody to get hurt, but I'm just here to worry about one kick at a time, and worry about all the other stuff later," Carpenter said.
Buffalo fans' first exposure to Carpenter was uncertain. He missed his first kick, but since that, he's made all but one other attempt.
Carpenter said fans, coaches, management and players welcomed him "right away" with open arms.
"Everyone's been great here, very welcoming. My wife and I love it here. We've had fun so far enjoying Buffalo," Carpenter said. "Just going to take this one kick, one game at a time and try to keep this going."
To this point Carpenter is having one of his most productive seasons. He's made 22 of 24 attempts for a 91.7 percent accuracy. He is poised to tie Rian Lindell's most accurate season — in which Lindell made 23 of 25 field goals — if he makes his next field goal. Carpenter has made all of his extra points thus far.
"It was a great acquisition," head coach Doug Marrone said. "I give credit to our pro scouting department for that; I think he's been outstanding."
Within 12 points of the fifth 100-point season in his career, Carpenter said his transition was even easier due to Buffalo's roster.
"Obviously it's nice to have a good snapper, a good holder, with the kicker and punter position, it's easier to go into a new place," Carpenter said. "You don't have to learn a scheme to kick a football."
What Carpenter did have to learn, though, was Buffalo weather. In week 11, Carpenter scored seven different times through high speed gusts against the Jets— three of which were field goals — and he didn't miss once.
Coach Marrone suggested Miami's practice routine may have helped the kicker.
"He's done a nice job. They practice quite a bit out there, more than we have as a team," Marrone said. "For us, we've been more outside here on the grass, and then just recently we went out to the stadium."
Just as Buffalo had an uncertain future heading into regular season play, so too did Carpenter.
"When I left the Jets after the last preseason game, at that point in time, I figured it would be a thing where I'd go back to Florida and just stay in shape and either be ready for something to happen this season, or just stay in shape and be ready to get into a camp the next year," Carpenter said.
The move from Miami to New York and finally Buffalo also uprooted his family — his wife Kaela gave birth to his son Colby in late August.
Carpenter endured the uncertainty. He said his career persevered by following advice Bill Parcells gave him his rookie year, "You're only as good as your next kick."
"All I can do is prepare every week and prepare and get ready to go out and play as well as I can every Sunday."
Carpenter said he's as focused as ever, but doesn't think about the potential of having a record breaking season.
"We have a lot of football left to play," Carpenter said. "There's nothing really to be happy about yet. I'm glad I can contribute and help this team win in any way that I can."