KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nick Lowery held the record for the longest field goal made in Chiefs’ franchise history for more than 40 years. Matthew Wright held the record for less than six days.
Harrison Butker made a triumphant return to action against Buffalo on Sunday, kicking for the first time after a four-game absence to hit a 62-yard field goal that puts his name atop the record book for the longest field goal in team history.
Butker said it felt good to make the kick when the team needed a score before halftime. Butker’s kick as time expired to end the first knotted the game at 10-10
“I had to break Matthew’s record,” Butker said. “(The kick) felt great, I was just happy to get the opportunity. James (Winchester) did a great job snapping, Tommy (Townsend) did a great job holding as always, we banged it as a unit. That’s what we practice to be able to perform when it matters most during the game.”
The kick came in a familiar setting for the Chiefs, eerily reminiscent of the team’s game-tying field goal drive with 13 seconds remaining in the AFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Bills in January. This time, however, the Bills elected to squib the kickoff downfield, with fullback Mike Burton returning the ball 9 yards to the 28-yard line with only 12 seconds remaining in the half.
Patrick Mahomes found running back Jerick McKinnon for a short pass to the right for 19 yards to the Kansas City 47-yard line with 5 seconds on the clock.
Butker, who hit a 64-yard field goal attempt during warmups heading toward the same goalpost, was ready to head onto the field for a 71-yard attempt. Baltimore’s Justin Tucker holds the NFL record for the longest field goal with a 66-yard connection last season.
After narrowly missing a 74-yard kick in warmups short and right, Butker felt that 71 was within his range in Sunday’s conditions with a swirling wind at his back. Holder Tommy Townsend was confident Buker could make the kick.
“We started running out on the field when there was 5 seconds left just hoping to prompt an opportunity to get the NFL record,” Townsend said. “But we take our opportunities where we get them.”
Head coach Andy Reid, however, chose to run one more play. Mahomes connected with Travis Kelce for a 9-yard gain to the Bills’ 44-yard line. The Chiefs used their final timeout of the half in setting up a 62-yard try.
“I felt like that 74 in pregame, I hit it too high,” Butker said. “It fell short but I still felt good even in a game with 74 or something. So 62 was definitely in range.”
Points are always paramount, of course, so Butker doesn’t second-guess the decision to pick up extra yardage.
“We were ready to go,” Butker said of the potential record-breaking attempt. “I was ready for that opportunity, and we got a little bit closer and we banged it through. That would have been cool to break the record.”
Reid the 62-yard kick is an example of why Butker is an “amazing kicker.”
“It was good to have him back out there,” Reid said. “We appreciate what the other guys did for us but Harrison is one of the best in the National Football League. It was good to have him back.”
Lowery first etched his name atop the Chiefs’ record book for the longest field goal on Sept. 14, 1980, with a 57-yard kick against Seattle at Arrowhead Stadium. He later hit kicks from 58 yards in 1983 and 1980.
Those marks held until Monday night against the Las Vegas Raiders when Wright hit a field from 59 yards as time elapsed at the end of the first half. That was also the longest field goal ever made at Arrowhead Stadium until Butker’s kick Sunday afternoon.
Butker also connected from 44 yards out in the fourth quarter but he missed a 51-yard attempt wide left opening the second half in his first game action since spraining his left ankle on Sept. 11.
“I felt like distance was not an issue,” Butker said. “I just got to keep building the endurance, the endurance to last the whole game.”
The Chiefs’ special teams unit had a strong performance despite the loss. Townsend averaged a blistering 57.7 yards on three punts while yielding just 6 yards in returns and pinning the Bills inside the 10 on a key second-half punt.
Townsend found himself in favorable punting positions to flip the field on Sunday.
“Anytime the ball is outside the 40-yard line, I can kind of just let the ball fly and let what happens, happen,” Townsend said. “Gunner play was fantastic today, those guys were down there like crazy.”