NASHVILLE, Tenn. — As Ryan Succop fielded a question about his new NFL record Monday night, Tennessee Titans teammate Taylor Lewan chimed in with his two cents.
“There he is, Mr. Living Legend, an NFL record-holder,” Lewan bellowed.
“Check’s in the mail,” Succop responded with a grin.
It was that kind of evening for Succop, whose five field goals in a 36-22 win over the Indianapolis Colts give him 51 in a row from 50 yards and in, breaking the old mark of 46 held by Matt Bryant.
Succop hit from 48, 32, 40, 48 and 23 to keep Tennessee afloat until the offense finally started producing touchdowns. Succop is 16 of 17 on field goals this year, his only miss occurring from 52 yards late in the season opener against the Oakland Raiders.
The 31-year-old Succop, a nine-year pro out of South Carolina, has been mostly automatic since coming to the team prior to the 2014 season. He has converted just over 84 percent of his field goals in his career while missing just four of 270 extra points.
“I don’t know what to say. I’m humbled,” Succop said of the record. “It’s something you never imagine. I’m blessed to work with a lot of great people.”
Succop gave credit to long snapper Beau Brinkley and punter Brett Kern, his holder, as well as the blockers who keep opponents from disrupting his kicks. But in a league where kickers seem as disposable as closers in baseball, Succop is carving out a nice little niche in Nashville.
His routine stayed the same for every kick Monday night, even knowing that the Titans were struggling to score points.
“I try not to think about it that way,” he said. “I try to treat every kick the same.”
Making Succop’s record even more remarkable is that Tennessee plays home games outdoors on natural grass, meaning he occasionally kicks in poor conditions over the season’s final two months. Yet his kicks split the uprights with an almost metronomic consistency.
And in an AFC South where the Titans currently share first place with the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars, all at 3-3, a kick might make the difference between a playoff berth and staying home. If that kick comes down to Succop, Tennessee should feel really good about its chances.