As Phil Dawson headed out to try a 48-yard field goal late in the first quarter Sunday, an image came to him of a Week 1 miss. From that very distance and that very spot in his first attempt with the 49ers.
He had a hard time pushing that September moment out of mind, a kick that he hooked wide left in his Niners debut against Green Bay.
Probably not the best kicking karma right there.
“As I’m jogging out onto the field I’m remembering that,” Dawson recalled. “I have to be quite honest it probably wasn’t the most positive mental picture in terms of having confidence where to aim. I took what I learned from that first time and tried to put it into action. It worked out.”
The field goal was Dawson’s second of four against the rival Seattle Seahawks, and every one mattered in Sunday’s 19-17 victory that put the 49ers at 9-4. The 48-yarder gave Dawson 18 straight converted field goals to match a franchise record by Joe Nedney in 2006-07, then Dawson connected on two more to take the record for himself. His 22-yarder with 26 seconds remaining became the winner and No. 20 in a row.
Not that Dawson is counting — or even worries about such things.
“I have a lot of respect for the way he works at his craft,” said 49ers special teams coach Brad Seely, who also worked with Dawson in Cleveland. “He’s been good for a long time in a really hard place to kick. I knew if he came out here, he would have success because where he’s been kicking for years, it’s a hard place. But they didn’t have much success as a team, so you didn’t ever hear much about him. He’s been probably the best player on that team in Cleveland for a long time.”
Dawson also holds the Browns’ record for consecutive field goals with 27, making him one of just three kickers with such a streak for two teams. Olindo Mare did it with Miami and Seattle, while Neil Rackers accomplished it playing for Arizona and Houston, according to STATS.
Dawson is on quite the roll as he heads home to his native Florida for Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay (4-9). Dawson has made 23 of 26 field goals overall, giving the 49ers a steady presence in the kicking game after David Akers struggled down the stretch a year ago.
“That’s what I hear,” Dawson said with a smile. “I’ve been through this and learn each time I go through it. You just have to treat every kick the same, whether you made the last one or missed the last one. Sometimes I don’t know which one’s harder to get over to be quite honest.”