SEATTLE — The Rams made the decision to replace kicker Sam Ficken after a Week 4 performance where he missed a 28-yard field goal. It was Ficken's second missed kick of the season, and the Rams elected to bring in someone else to fill in for All-Pro kicker Greg Zuerlein as he continues to recover from a groin injury.
That someone was kicker Cairo Santos. The former Chief, Bear, and Jet was able to come through for what ended up being the game-winning field goal midway through the fourth quarter. But that didn't arrive free and easy.
While Santos nailed his first four kicking attempts — three PATs and one 19-yard field goal — he missed an extra-point attempt that would have tied the score at 31 early in the fourth quarter. After running back Todd Gurley's third touchdown run of the game — coming from five-yards out — Santos pulled the PAT wide left.
Seattle stayed up 31-30 with 14:54 left in the contest.
But even as that happened, Santos' teammates and coaches kept their confidence in him.
"This team is so special with the way that everybody had my back," Santos said postgame. "They came and talked to me — I didn't see a look in anybody's face of disbelief in me."
"I told the team, I'm like, 'This happened for a reason,'" running back Todd Gurley said. "I just felt that something was going to happen. We would've tied it up — ended up being down by one point. But I'm like, this is what's going to show us what type of team we are."
That's apparently all Santos needed, as on the Rams' next drive he was back out there to kick a go-ahead 39-yard field goal. The snap went back from Jake McQuaide to Johnny Hekker, Santos lined it up and kicked it through the uprights for what ended up being the winning margin.
"That was impressive, man," quarterback Jared Goff said. "For a guy that's been on our team for one week — to not flinch, not blink, miss a PAT and come back and kick the game-winner is huge."
"I'm glad that my first game back since all the injuries I've had — to experience even a lot of that is important," Santos said. "It was a blessing to get another opportunity in the same game to redeem myself."
That he did, giving the Rams just what they needed to come away with a 33-31 victory to bring the team to 5-0 on the season.
"Defense did a great job, [Santos] came out there and kicked the field goal, put us up by two points," Gurley said. "And it doesn't matter if you win by half-a-point, one point in this league — a win is a win. And we're going to take it."