When a quad injury sidelined kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn during Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay, it sent the Texans into a panic. They were already playing without their leading rusher and receiving back, but if they lost their place-kicking specialist, that would put their entire game plan into question. Luckily, the Texans’ backup running back was ready to step up.
Dare Ogunbowale, generally relegated to handling the team’s kickoffs, was suddenly thrust into the spotlight when he was called upon to handle the place-kicking duties. The 29-year-old didn’t hesitate to accept the challenge, as he sent one through the uprights for a go-ahead field goal in Houston’s 39-37 win over the Buccaneers. In doing so, Ogunbowale became the first non-kicker or punter to make a field goal in a regular-season game since Patriots receiver Wes Welker did it in 2004.
The Texans were forced to resort to Ogunbowale after Fairbairn went down with the injury, which could become a long-term issue. Ogunbowale has kicked in high school, but he wasn’t on the depth chart and was only considered an emergency kicker this week when Fairbairn suffered his injury.
Despite the unforeseen circumstances, Ogunbowale handled all the kicking duties during the first half and even made a field goal to open the second quarter. He also nailed a pair of two-point conversions following touchdowns by Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud in the second half.
With the score tied 30-30 and 8:45 remaining in the fourth quarter, Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans called Ogunbowale to try a 29-yard field goal to take the lead. Many coaches would have elected to go for the touchdown, but Ryan gambled on his backup, which paid off.
The field goal made by Ogunbowale was enough to give the Texans the victory and set a new record for the longest field goal in a regular-season game. It was also the quickest field goal made by a running back in NFL history.