It was one of the biggest moments of the NFL on Sunday, and former South Carolina kicker Ryan Succop delivered it.
With the Tennessee Titans playing in a minus-9 wind chill at Kansas City, the Titans were down by one with seconds remaining. In those less-than-ideal conditions, Succop, who was drafted by the Chiefs and then cut in favor of Cairo Santos, booted a 53-yard field goal. It was short.
Fortunately, Kansas City head coach Andy Reid called a timeout, so Succop got a second chance. And this time, by the slimmest of margins, made it. The Titans won the game, 19-17.
Afterward, an emotional Succop recapped what the win meant to the Tennessee Titans team site and the MMQB’s Peter King.
“The second one, I knew after that first kick that I just had to throw technique out the window. I just had to kick that thing as hard as I could, regardless of the right technique,” Succop told King. “I was kicking a frozen football in the worst conditions you could imagine.
“Kick of a lifetime,” he said over the phone, choking up.
“I gotta be honest. The conditions, this team, these guys, the way we’re fighting for the division … I was crying like a baby after this one. I could not do this. No question in my mind it was the Lord’s will. That’s the one explanation for it. Glory to God,” Succop said.
The win sends the Titans to an 8-6 record, tied for first place with the Houston Texans in the AFC South. The two teams play in Week 17, with a likely playoff spot on the line.
In his time at South Carolina, Succop made All-SEC twice (second team in 2006, honorable mention in 2007) and was good enough to be drafted, a rare feat for a kicker. His alma mater takes on South Florida in the Birmingham Bowl on Dec. 29.