Raiders haven't needed much from Janikowski

Ben Margot/AP PhotoJanikowski (11) has had low numbers all season due to Oakland's success in the red zone.

Ben Margot/AP PhotoJanikowski (11) has had low numbers all season due to Oakland's success in the red zone.

ALAMEDA — For years Sebastian Janikowski has been the saving grace whenever the Oakland Raiders' offense stalled. The veteran kicker repeatedly bailed the team out with his powerful leg, setting numerous franchise records along the way.

He's about to establish another team record — though it's clearly one he'd rather do without.

With two games left before the Raiders (2-12) put the wraps on another disappointing season, Janikowski is on pace to have the fewest field goal attempts over a 16-game season in franchise history.

It's not that the coaching staff has lost faith in the former first-round draft pick.

In one of those rare statistical oddities, Oakland is last in the league in total offense and 31st in points yet owns the NFL's top red zone offense. The Raiders are scoring touchdowns from inside the opponents' 20-yard line at a 75 percent clip, essentially eliminating the need for the field goal unit.

“It's frustrating more than anything because you want to be out there trying to help the team win some games,” Janikowski said. “I never think about how many field goals I kick, I just want to win. I knew it was low.”

Janikowski has never attempted fewer than 25 field goals in any season since entering the NFL as the 17th overall pick in 2000. At his current rate, he'll finish with 19 this year.

That's one fewer than the current team record of 20, shared by Errol Mann (1978) and Jeff Jaeger (1990).

The upside is that despite the few opportunities he's had, the 36-year-old Janikowski has quietly rebounded nicely from one of the worst seasons of his career. He's converted 15 of 17 attempts and is one of 10 kickers in the league with a success rate of 88 percent or better this year.

Still, Janikowski's overall numbers have suffered because of Oakland's success in the red zone. The Raiders have scored touchdowns on 18 of 22 trips inside the 20.

Though he will finish as the team's leading scorer for a 15th consecutive year, Janikowski has gone four games without a single field goal attempt — the longest streak of Janikowski's career when healthy.

“We've just been efficient down there in scoring touchdowns,” Raiders interim coach Tony Sparano said Friday. “It's been a scenario where we haven't had to kick field goals, which is a good thing. But when we need one he's there and I know that we can count on him.”

Janikowski wasn't even aware of his low numbers until being told by a reporter. He pondered the thought briefly, shrugged his shoulders and smiled.

“When you're into the game, you always kick three, four field goals a game,” Janikowski said. “Now I'm averaging one a game or whatever that is.”

Oakland hosts Buffalo on Sunday, and Janikowski is 6-for-6 in field goal attempts against the Bills.

Notes: CB Tarell Brown (foot), WR Vincent Brown (groin), CB Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), TE Brian Leonhardt (concussion), WR Denarius Moore (knee/ankle) and RT Menelik Watson (foot/ankle) did not practice and will not play against the Bills. … CB DJ Hayden (back) was limited and is questionable. … CB TJ Carrie, who is probable with a sore ankle, is expected to start in place of Brown.

NFLOakland Raiders & NFLRaidersSebastian Janikowski

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Police Chief Bill Scott on Wednesday said a rebranding and reoganization of the former Gang Task Force amounts to “more than just the name change.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faced with surge in shootings, Chief Scott reenvisions SFPD’s Gang Task Force

New Community Violence Reduction Team adds officers with community-policing experience

Stores including Walgreens and Safeway are required to pay their employees additional hazard pay under a city ordinance that is currently set to expire later this month. (Shutterstock)
Grocery workers could gain additional weeks of $5 per hour hazard pay

San Francisco will vote next week on whether to extend a law… Continue reading

The fatal shooting of San Francisco resident Roger Allen by Daly City police on April 7 prompted protests in both cities. (Jordi Molina/ Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Daly City approves body-worn and vehicle cameras for police after fatal shooting

Daly City officials on Wednesday approved body and vehicle cameras for police… Continue reading

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays attends an event to honor the San Francisco Giants' 2014 World Series victory on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Willie Mays turns 90: San Francisco celebrates the greatest Giant

By Al Saracevic Examiner staff writer I couldn’t believe it. Willie Mays… Continue reading

Ja’Mari Oliver, center, 11, a fifth grader at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, is surrounded by his classmates at a protest outside the Safeway at Church and Market streets on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in support of him following an April 26 incident where he was falsely accused by an employee of stealing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
School community rallies behind Black classmate stopped at Safeway

‘When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us’

Most Read