It appears I owe Colton Schmidt an apology.
Two weeks ago, I pointed out that the third-year Bills punter was having a very bad season, including some of the worst performances of his career up to this point. He’s responded with two very solid games, including one of the best of his career against the Rams on Sunday.
Schmidt punted six times for an average of 46 yards, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. When his punts went out of bounds, it was intentional; that wasn’t the case earlier in the season in poor showings against the Jets and Cardinals. Schmidt had one punt of 50+ yards coming into the game, and added three to his total on the year with a long of 58. Even his shortest punt of the day, for 32 yards, pinned the Rams at their own 7, beginning a drive where they used up over eight minutes of fourth-quarter play on a drive that ended in a field goal.
If a team has to send their punter out onto the field, there are two goals: flip the field, and limit the effectiveness of the opposing returner. The Rams’ best opening field position off a Schmidt punt was their own 36, and they started inside their own 20 four times. Tavon Austin, who ripped off a 47-yard return in their previous game against the Cardinals, had absolutely no impact in his special teams role.
So, yeah...I apologize for doubting you, Mr. Schmidt. Keep up the good work.