ATLANTA (AP) — Falcons kicker Matt Bryant is likely to miss the next game against the New York Giants after straining his right hamstring kicking a 57-yard field goal that helped Atlanta snap a three-game losing streak.
Coach Dan Quinn said Monday the Falcons are going to bring in another kicker this week to fill in for Bryant. Giorgio Tavecchio, who was with the team at the end of the preseason, is among the candidates.
Tavecchio kicked last season for the Oakland Raiders. He made 16 of 21 field goals, including three from 50 yards or longer, and all but one extra point.
The 43-year-old Bryant is one of Atlanta’s most reliable offensive weapons. He has connected on all nine of his field goal attempts this season, including three from at least 50 yards.
Bryant’s longest kick of the season helped clinch a 34-29 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. But he immediately grabbed his hamstring, hobbled off the field and headed straight to the locker room.
The Falcons (2-4) face the New York Giants (1-5) next Monday night. Atlanta is off the following week, which would give Bryant extra time to recover before the Nov. 4 game at Washington.
Coach Dan Quinn showed his confidence in Bryant when he decided to go for the long field goal with 1:10 remaining against the Bucs. With the Falcons clinging to a two-point lead, a miss would’ve given Tampa Bay excellent field position to drive for a winning field goal.
But Bryant’s kick barely cleared the crossbar, giving the Falcons an edge that stood up for the victory.
“I can’t say enough about Matt Bryant and the kick he had in the fourth quarter,” Quinn said. “He’s one of the toughest players I’ve ever coached. Not just the toughest kicker, but one of the toughest players.”
His teammates certainly realize how important he is to the team’s success.
“He’s an amazing player,” receiver Julio Jones said. “Every kick is the same. His preparation every game is the same.”
In other injury news, running back Devonta Freeman will likely miss at least one more game, according to Quinn. He didn’t play against the Bucs because of a groin injury and earlier missed three straight games with a bruised knee.
This is the second straight injury plagued year for Freeman, a two-time Pro Bowl selection and one of the NFL’s highest-paid running backs.
Quinn isn’t sure about the status of receivers Calvin Ridley (ankle) and Mohamed Sanu (hip), both of whom had to leave Sunday’s game. The coach said an extra day of recovery before facing New York in prime time could make a difference between playing and sitting.
“In the football world, a whole day is a big deal,” Quinn said.
The Falcons also have been without defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (ankle) the past two games. Quinn said he’ll know more about Jarrett’s status when the Falcons resume practicing on Thursday after taking two days off.
It’s been a tough season physically for Atlanta, which already lost safeties Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen and offensive guard Andy Levitre to season-ending injuries. Linebacker Deion Jones is on injured reserve with a foot problem, but the Falcons are hopeful he can return after sitting out the required eight games.
By PAUL NEWBERRY, AP Sports Writer