Colts’ Adam Vinatieri going long distance during 38-FG streak

Adam Vinatieri #4 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates after making a field goal against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Adam Vinatieri #4 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates after making a field goal against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – To offer perspective to the near-historic zone that Adam Vinatieri finds himself floating in, let’s break down the longest streaks of successful field goals in NFL history.

It’s a matter of distance.

Vinatieri earned a 16th career AFC Special Teams Player of the Week recognition Wednesday on the strength of nailing all five of his field-goal attempts in the Indianapolis Colts’ Sunday win over the Chicago Bears. That included 54- and 53-yarders, and that pushed his streak to 38, a personal best and the third-longest in league history. He trails Mike Vanderjagt (42) and Gary Anderson (40).

But again, a breakdown adds more significance to Vinatieri’s run. The average distance of each streak:

  • Vinatieri: 40.6. Of his 38 field goals, nine have been 50 yards or longer and 15 have been from at least 47 yards. Eight have been 30 yards or shorter.
  • Vanderjagt: 32.7. Of his 42, 23 were 31 yards or closer. The Colts asked him to attempt just one 50-yarder during his streak.
  • Anderson: 35.3. His 40-kick streak required just two attempts of at last 50 yards and 17 that were 32 yards or shorter.

Except in rare instances, the distance is irrelevant to Vinatieri.

“I try to kick them all the same,’’ he said. “Just do your job and make sure it’s a good kick and you’ll have enough distance. Sometimes they’re short (attempts), sometime they’re long. This year has been more long that short.’’

Vinatieri is 5-for-5 on field goals of at least 50 yards this season, which is one shy of the team record held by Vanderjagt (1998) and Dean Biasucci (1988). Minnesota’s Blair Walsh set the NFL record with 10 in 2012.

The only time Vinatieri alters his approach is when the Colts stretch his range limit, which is determined during pre-game warmups.

“If you set a line of demarcation – maybe 55 yards is as far as we want to go back – and you’re near that range, you might have to swing a little harder,’’ he said. “But a 45-yarder and a 25-yarder hopefully should be about the same.’’

By the way, Vinatieri earned his first weekly honor Sept. 22, 1996 when he converted 5-of-6 field goal attempts in New England’s 28-25 win over Jacksonville. That included hitting the game-winning 40-yarder.

That’s a stretch of 7,322 days between the first game and the last game.

Not tipping his hand: Chuck Pagano was in no mood to share personnel information Wednesday.

The Houston Texans feature DeAndre Hopkins, their 2013 first-round draft pick who already has established himself as one of the league premier receivers. He had 111 receptions for 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns last season and has a team-best 22 catches for 283 yards and three TDs this season.

Might Vontae Davis, the Colts’ two-time Pro Bowl cornerback, shadow Hopkins?

“I think he’s a guy, him and (Will Fuller), you’d better know where they’re at,’’ Pagano said. “You’ve better take care of them.’’

Pagano again was asked if Davis might be assigned to follow Hopkins.

“Would you like me to just call coach O’Brien and tell him what we’re doing?’’ he replied. “Just invite him to practice?’’

Pagano also was asked if the Colts will use the same starting offensive line against the Texans. In Sunday’s win over Chicago, Denzelle Good started at right guard and rookie Joe Haeg at right tackle. The Bears sacked quarterback Andrew Luck five times, pushing his total over the last two games to 11.

Normal right tackle Joe Reitz, who missed one game with a back injury, was on the field for just two offensive snaps and seven special teams’ plays.

“Nothing like continuity,’’ Pagano said when asked if he was sticking with last week’s group. “Everybody’s healthy and there’s nothing like continuity.

“Now I could do the same thing and just call and give them the lineup, but I’m not going to do that. There’s still some competitive stuff.’’

Medical update: Among players who did not practice Wednesday was defensive tackle Zach Kerr. He suffered an injury to his right ankle in Sunday’s win over the Bears and is listed as week-to-week.

Pagano said cornerback Darius Butler is day-to-day after he underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a fractured finger. Cornerback Patrick Robinson is day-to-day with groin and knee injuries.

Others who did not practice Wednesday: wide receiver Donte Moncrief (shoulder), safety Mike Adams (rest), linebacker Robert Mathis (rest), offensive lineman Jon Harrison (illness) and wide receiver Quan Bray (xxx).

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