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Missed field goals continue to haunt the Cardinals

Zane Gonzalez’s 72.7% conversion rate is among the worst in the NFL

Los Angeles Rams v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals (6-6) are currently in a slump, losing their third consecutive game since the “Hail Murray” game-winning touchdown against the Buffalo Bills in Week 10.

Not only did they add another loss to their record, they also fall out of the playoff picture for now as the Minnesota Vikings move up to the No. 7 seed.

As the losses continue to pile up, finger pointing for all the blame seems to be going everywhere but one player that has faced a lot of heat in recent weeks is Zane Gonzalez.

Let’s be clear about Gonzalez. He was phenomenal for the Cardinals last season.

He made 31-of-35 of his field goal attempts and went 34-of-35 on extra points last season, which helped him earn a Pro Bowl alternate selection.

However, the NFL is not about what you have done for me in the past but more about what you have done for me lately.

The 25-year-old kicker missed a potential game-winning overtime field goal in Week 7 against the Seattle Seahawks before redeeming himself with another opportunity later that game following the Isaiah Simmons’ game-changing interception.

He missed a 49-yard attempt against the Miami Dolphins with 1:58 left that would have tied the game but instead, they lost by a final score of 34-31.

Last week, he missed a 45-yard attempt against the New England Patriots with 1:52 remaining that would have given the Cardinals the lead but lost 20-17 as Nick Folk converted a game-winning 50-yard field goal as time expired.

Arizona Cardinals v New England Patriots Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images

Yesterday, Gonzalez missed a 48-yard attempt against the Los Angeles Rams before halftime that proved very costly as the Cardinals lost 38-28.

Let’s not forget that he also missed two field goals in the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers. Instead of putting the game away, the defense stepped up big time in the 49ers’ final offensive drive of the game to help the Cardinals come out on top.

Overall, he has made 16-of-22 (72.7%) of his field goal attempts this season, a conversion rate that is among the worst in the NFL.

There have been way too many instances this season where a field goal would change the tide of the game.

He is the fourth-highest paid kicker in the NFL after he signed his restricted free agent contract worth $3.2 million in the offseason but has struggled greatly this season.

Here is what Cardinals general manager Steve Keim had to say about their young kicker on Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Friday

“My trust level is Zane’s got to get back out there and make that kick,” Keim said. “Bottom line is he gets paid to kick the football and he’s got to make that kick.

“Zane’s got a lot of talent, sometimes this happens with kickers, it’s not an excuse. We have expectations for Zane and feel like he’s going to get back out there and bang it through on the next one.”

Unfortunately, he went back out there and did not bang it through.

Los Angeles Rams v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

And let’s be completely honest, there are flaws and inconsistencies all over this Cardinals team. Players need to be held accountable and they need to take responsibility.

Mistakes happen and that is because we are all human. But, the NFL is a business and there is no time to mess around.

Chances can be given over and over again but these opportunities need to be capitalized on. If the same mistakes continue to happen repeatedly and nothing is being done about it, how can the Cardinals get any better?

At some point, Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury must make the tough decisions.

The Cardinals need to get back to winning football games but if they do not change the way they are now, then it will be too late to get back on track.