A veteran kicker of 12 years in the NFL, he would never be foolish enough to think for a moment that the media wouldn’t be waiting by his locker following the Seahawks’ disappointing 25-19 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Qwest Field.
And those questions weren’t going to be about the four field goals he made, but the two field goals he missed.
“Yeah, they were just bad kicks,” he said. “Just two bad kicks and it kind of cost us the game.”
Coach Jim Mora seemed to think Mare more than “kind of” cost the Seahawks the game.
“There are no excuses for those,” Mora said. “If you’re a kicker in the National Football League you should make those kicks – bottom line. End of story. Period. No excuses. No wind, doesn’t matter,” Mora said. “You’ve gotta makes those kicks.”
The more Mora spoke the madder he got.
“Especially in a game like this, where you’re kicking and fighting and scratching your tail off and you miss those kicks, it’s not acceptable. Not acceptable. Absolutely not acceptable.”
Mare wasn’t told of Mora’s criticism, though it would have mattered little. Mare basically called himself out and questioned his overall performance.
“You’re only supposed to do your job and I didn’t do it very well,” he said.
To be fair, Mare did his job well on four occasions. He booted field goals of 46 and 37 yards to start the game as the Seahawks took a 13-0 lead, but he missed a 43-yarder just before halftime and a 34-yarder in third quarter, both to left toward the north end zone.
“I’m more disappointed in the second one just because the wind was blowing that way,” Mare said. “I don’t know if I have ever missed two (in a game). You’re supposed to fix something if it’s wrong and I should have played it more to the right instead of aiming down the middle.”
Both kicks were struck well and had plenty of distance. Mare even thought the first one might have gone over the upright.
“I hit them good and they just didn’t go in,” he said. “If they’re out, they’re out. I’d rather have one knuckle in four feet off the ground and have it somehow get in there as opposed to kicking a pretty one that doesn’t go in. They don’t count.”
Even after the two misses, Mare still managed to bounce back. He kicked a 39-yarder to start the fourth quarter to cut the Seahawks’ deficit to 17-16.
He later gave the Seahawks a 19-17 lead by booting a 46-yarder with about 5 minutes remaining in the game.
“You go from losing the game to winning the game and then you lost it again,” he said. “I blame myself for that and I feel bad for all the guys in here that worked so hard all week.”
Such is the life of an NFL kicker. One minute your being carried off the field, the next you’re lower than pond scum and trying to bury yourself under it.
“Of all the things that I did do good, it’s the two bad things that stood out,” he said.
Perhaps it stands out more because fans have seen Mare be almost automatic. He made 24 of 27 attempts last season.
But that was last season, and Mare knows he is only as good as his most recent game.
And with Mora steaming, Sunday could easily have been Mare’s last game with the Seahawks.
“To let it come down to one guy to screw it up for everybody is a tough pill to swallow,” he said. “But I’ll be back.”
Or so he hopes.