Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

With some outside help from a former 49ers nemesis, Robbie Gould kicks his team into NFC Championship Game

Jan 22, 2022 at 10:47 PM--

Had it not been for a couple of assists from the outside, it's possible that San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould might not have been able to hit the game-winning kick that sent his team into the NFC Championship.

Gould accounted for seven points (two field goals, one extra point) in the 49ers' 13-10 win over the Green Bay Packers in Saturday night's Divisional Playoff game, with his biggest moment coming on a 45-yard field goal through wintery conditions as time expired to send the 49ers home victorious. Credit Gould with making the kick in such conditions, but he also asked for some help before the game that wound up making a difference in the end.

In preparation for what he knew would be a difficult weather environment at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Gould contacted two former NFL kickers who had success in those conditions in the past. One was former Vikings kicker Greg Joseph, while the other is a name 49ers fans may remember, for better or for worse -- former Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes.

It was Tynes who connected on a game-winning kick in the 2011 NFC Championship game that wound up eliminating the 49ers while sending the Giants to the Super Bowl. But Tynes, who hit a 47-yard game-winner at Lambeau in the 2007 NFC Championship game, was on the 49ers' side this time, giving Gould some advice on how to approach the conditions he was about to face.

"Both of those guys have the longest field goals in Lambeau history in January," Gould said after the win Saturday. "I felt really comfortable with the things that they told me -- kind of the idea of what we wanted to do going into the warmup, making sure that everyone was comfortable. But I think those are moments that you look at the kicker fraternity and you know that unless you're playing against the guy, everyone's going to help each other out. So, I appreciate both of those guys and it's pretty special to get a win at Lambeau."

Tynes even gave Gould a cheer over Twitter after the game came to an end.

Also helping Gould was a friend of his back in Pennsylvania who sent him a new pair of cleats. With snow coming down throughout the second half, Gould's new cleats helped him get what he was looking for on the final kick.

"I think as the game went on, I think the field got softer," said Gould, who is now a perfect 20-for-20 in postseason field goal attempts. "I have a buddy of mine who owns a soccer shoe company back in Lancaster, Pennsylvania who sent me a new seven-stud cleat. All my other cleats have been from like 15 years ago, so I was due. So Angelo, I appreciate you buddy. I needed it on the last kick for sure."

Of course, Gould's friends outside the organization weren't the only ones who played a part in his success. There was also the offense, which was able to get Gould close enough to make the kick (Gould told reporters after the game his limit on Saturday night was 52 yards, which was met on his final kick thanks in large part to Deebo Samuel's big 3rd down run just three plays prior), and there was long snapper Taybor Pepper and holder Mitch Wishnowsky, whom Gould was quick to credit after the game.

"I'm pretty happy with how Taybor and Mitch handled all the conditions," Gould said. "Those guys played really really well. For not having played in it a lot, we prepared for it, but you really can't prepare for it like you're getting out there, right? Then all the guys up front have been blocking awesome. So I think the biggest challenge is just the field got a lot softer from pregame, but I felt really comfortable."

Gould said he now has a bruise on his foot after kicking at Lambeau, but he's happy to accept it over what would have been the alternative.

"It hurts," Gould said. "I was in there icing it up for about 20 minutes. It'll probably take me a couple days. It's black and blue. But we're going to the NFC Championship, so I'd rather have it black and blue playing in another game than -- no offense to my kids -- sitting down and playing catch with them instead of playing football next Sunday."

Not that settling down to play catch with his kids isn't something the 39-year-old Gould plans to do eventually. That time will come soon enough -- something Gould made that clear in his comments after the game. But Gould isn't quite ready for that yet, at least for now.

"My sense of urgency for me and myself personally is to win a Super Bowl," Gould said. "If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't be playing football. I could care less to play football. I don't mean that in a bad way. My kids are at an age that they're eight, six and three. I spent the last six years away from my kids, and they mean the world to me. At some point, Dad's got to come home and be dad for them too, right? So my ultimate goal is to be a Hall of Famer and to win a Super Bowl. I have a lot left to be able to accomplish that, but this is just one step in the right direction for our team. I think when it comes to postseason play, these are the games you live for. If you don't like these games, you're not going to be a kicker in the National Football League very long."


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