Eddy Pineiro has helped break the Carolina Panthers losing streak…
The 28-year-old Cuban & Nicaraguan American football placekicker kicked the winning 23-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Panthers their first victory of the season over the Houston Texans.
Piñeiro went through his routine prayer and pointed his hands toward the sky before kicking the ball from 38 yards out, attempting the game-clinching field goal. He thought about how much he wanted it for the fans.
“That one was for the fans,” Piñeiro said. “Thinking before the kick, I was just like, man, this fanbase really deserves this. We’re 0-6. Let’s get this W and go home.”
The ending was filled with drama, however, with Pineiro having to make the winning kick three times with the Texans intentionally trying to jump offsides in an effort to rattle him.
Pineiro made all three kicks.
“They didn’t want to lose that game, and they were trying their absolute best to get in my head,” Pineiro said. “Hopefully they have a safe flight back to Houston.”
Head coach Frank Reich said that flurry of intentional penalties and jumping offsides is a strategy he has seen deployed before to try to “rattle” a kicker, and he complimented Piñeiro’s steadiness in the face of chaos.
“As soon as it started to play out like that, you just keep your cool,” Reich said. “Eddy did a good job of keeping his cool and just was clutch like we knew he would be.”
Piñeiro earned his first game ball in the locker room after the victory, a testament to how he ended a close game behind an effort to get a defensive stop and for the offense to move him into field goal range late.
The win kept Carolina from matching its worst start in franchise history. The Panthers were 0-7 to start the 1998 season.