Kicker Dustin Hopkins connected on four second half field goals to ensure a Redskins victory over the Vikings, moving past his missed kick against the Bengals in London.
After the Redskins' 27-27 tie to the Bengals in London, kicker Dustin Hopkins told the throng of media stationed by his locker that he guessed it would take him at least a couple of days to recover and move on from missing the potential game-winning 34-yard field goal in overtime.
He hooked it left, the first field goal miss in his career under 43 yards, and the Redskins couldn't escape Wembley Stadium with a victory because of it.
That's not to say that the tie was his sole responsibility, a feeling that Hopkins still likely felt though on the long plane ride home.
"I hated it for my teammates, I hated it for the fans, I hated it for the organization," Hopkins said. "You always want to perform well, not only for yourself, but just to serve those around you. I hated not being able to come through for those guys."
Hopkins said that his prediction that night after the Bengals game was accurate. Once the initial sting had lifted, he watched the game film – not the actual field goal, just everything up to contact – and then went hunting in the Ashburn, Va., area.
"I got in a tree stand a couple times, went hunting and just got my mind off of things," Hopkins said.
It seemed his head was clear last Sunday in the Redskins' 26-20 victory over the Vikings. Hopkins connected on the team's final 12 points in the second half -- making field goals from 30, 37, 50 and 28 yards out – to ensure the team's comeback victory.
"There was really no doubt," Gruden said of Hopkins' performance. "You know, I think he's been excellent all year. He gave us no reason to believe that he wouldn't do otherwise then to bounce back. It was great to see it though…So, happy for Dustin, man."
For Hopkins, the last two weeks, from his overtime miss to Sunday's victory, have been particularly meaningful. He's received encouragement from his teammates and coaches ("He did a heck of a job, man," Josh Norman said on Sunday. "Four field goals in a row. You can't ask for anything better. His number was called. They work hard each and every week. It was good to see him come through and be successful.") and the miss has given him a better sense of where he stands as a member of the organization.
"I know that in moments like that, in bad moments, where there's plays I should have made and then other times when things are going well like today, the lord's growing me in both of those situations, good and bad," Hopkins said. "I can rest knowing that hey, he's growing me to be the man I need to be and that's not always comforting in the moment, even acknowledging that, recognizing that is still tough. But at the same time, this feels so much better. Winning and performing well feels so much better."
Because the Redskins refuse to make the fourth quarter anything but dramatic, Hopkins knows his number will be called in tight situations for the rest of the season. He hopes that the Bengals game is a learning moment moving forward, something to lean on if and when he has to jump over another mental hurdle.
"Like I said, being on the side of performing well and winning feels better, but it's also nice to, who knows in the future there could be a similar situation to two weeks ago and because I've learned from it, it was more vital here in the future to perform when I need to," Hopkins said. "We'll see. Who knows what the future holds, but it does feel a lot better when you perform well and win obviously."