Nothing that happened to Vinatieri on Sunday was necessarily a bad mistake or even his fault.
But in a rough season, three of his kicks were turning points in the Colts’ crushing 31-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Vinatieri missed a 55-yard field goal, then had a 53-yard field goal blocked. Then came the real game-changer: In the fourth quarter Vinatieri had a field goal blocked and returned 63 yards for a touchdown to give the Titans a 24-17 lead. CBS said it was the first time Indianapolis had ever allowed a blocked field goal for a touchdown in team history. Jacoby Brissett threw an interception right after that and Ryan Tannehill threw a touchdown to put the game away.
Vinatieri is likely the greatest kicker in NFL history, or on a very short list. But this season has been a trying one, and it was another tough day on Sunday.