|Huber’s punt during storm saves Bengals|
|Thursday, October 10, 2013 12:24 AM|
CINCINNATI — Huge drops of rain pelted the field, falling so hard that players had to blink to protect their eyes. The wind made the yellow uprights on the goal posts bob and weave.
Punt in these conditions? That’s exactly what Kevin Huber had to do on Sunday. With a game on the line, no less.
“That was probably the heaviest (downpour) I’ve ever been in,” the Bengals punter said. “That was pretty insane that it rained that hard for that long of a period.”
He came up with one of the best punts of his career, sending the ball 57 yards in the air through the driving rain. His kicked pinned the New England Patriots for those final wet minutes of a 13-6 victory at Paul Brown Stadium.
The defense’s performance was impressive, ending Tom Brady’s streak of 52 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Huber’s kick was as good as anything the defense did.
“Oh, man, that was huge for us,” defensive tackle Domata Peko said on Wednesday. “A big punt and it came at the perfect time. We were going to give them a short field but he booted that thing all the way down. That was amazing, man. It was up there forever.”
That he got it off at all was impressive.
The Bengals had a fourth down at their 17-yard line coming out of the two-minute warning. A storm had just moved in at Paul Brown Stadium. Big raindrops came down so hard that players felt like they were being pelted with hail.
Huber jogged onto the field holding a towel, hoping to keep his hands dry so he didn’t fumble the wet ball. He immediately realized that was wishful thinking.
The goal: Catch the snap cleanly and get it away without having it blocked or hitting it off the side of his foot. And try not to let the wind blow it down a few yards past the line of scrimmage. Every yard was vital at that point.
He got the snap and got it off so smoothly that the ball took off, cutting through the rain and wind as though it were a sunny day. Even punt returner Julian Edelman was surprised — he’d expected a much shorter kick and had to turn and run backward to catch up with it.
He grabbed it at the New England 26-yard line and was run out of bounds at the 35, leaving the Patriots with too far to go under the worst type of weather.
Even Huber was surprised the ball sailed that far.
The Patriots had trouble completing passes in the downpour. Several passes were dropped and Brady’s desperation pass was picked off in the closing seconds.
NOTES: DE Michael Johnson, who missed the game because of a concussion, sat out practice on Wednesday. CB Leon Hall missed the last two games with a hamstring injury but returned to practice on a limited basis. Asked if he could play on Sunday at Buffalo (2-3), Hall replied, “I hope so. Two weeks is long enough.” … RT Andre Smith also was limited in practice Wednesday by a sore shoulder.
LA council reaffirms support for NFL team
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles City Council has reaffirmed its support for efforts to bring an NFL team to the nation’s second-largest city.
Tossing a football and sports lingo around the council chamber, members voted 14-0 Wednesday for a resolution saying it is in the interests of both the city and the league to bring a team to Los Angeles.
A year ago, the council approved a plan by the sports and entertainment company AEG to build a $1.5 billion downtown stadium but construction can’t begin until a team is secured.
Former Lions defensive star McCord dies at age 80
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. — Darris McCord, a member of the Detroit Lions’ “Fearsome Foursome” that terrorized NFL offenses, died Wednesday. He was 80.
The Lions wrote in a release that McCord died at home in Bloomfield Hills. The team didn’t give a cause of death but the Detroit Free Press reported that McCord was diagnosed in March with pancreatic cancer.
“Darris will not only be remembered as a cornerstone to the Lions’ great Fearsome Foursome defensive line of the 1960s, but also as someone who made many positive contributions to the Detroit community over the last five decades,” Lions’ President Tom Lewand said.
McCord was selected in the third round by Detroit in the 1955 draft from the University of Tennessee, where he was an All-American. He spent his entire 13-year career in Detroit and was a member of the Lions’ 1957 NFL championship team. He also played in the 1958 Pro Bowl.
McCord played left end on a line that included NFL great Alex Karras at left tackle, Roger Brown at right tackle and Sam Williams at right end. McCord had three interceptions and recovered nine fumbles in 168 games, mostly as a defensive end. He missed only two games in his career.
“Darris was one of the really good guys,” said Mike Lucci, who played for the Lions in 1965-67. “Darris never seemed to be in hurry when getting to huddles. But, it was amazing how many times it was him that got to the quarterback first or the one who was leaping over a block.”
McCord is survived by his wife, Helen; two daughters, Vickie and Kelli; and a son, Mike.