K Martin Gramatica can now celebrate his fourth Player of the Week or Player of the Month award in just two NFL seasons
Just two years into his NFL career, Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Martin Gramatica is running out of wall space for his Player of the Week and Player of the Month plaques.
Guess he'll have to start hanging them high.
That's something Buccaneer fans know their kicker is capable of doing. Against Miami on Sunday, Gramatica hit the game-winning field goal from 46 yards out in the midst of a driving rain storm. Head Coach Tony Dungy almost elected to punt from the Dolphins' 28, so risky was this kick, but Gramatica convinced Dungy he could make it. The diminutive kicker's shot was not only good, it was near dead center and well up the protective net behind the goalposts.
That game-winner, plus two other field goals in three tries, earned Gramatica the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week award for Week 15. It his first such award of the season, though he did win NFC Special Teams Player of the Month honors for October. Gramatica also won one player of the week and one player of the month award as a rookie in 1999.
Gramatica actually made two fourth-quarter field goals in the Bucs' 16-13 win at Miami on December 10, tying the game early in the final period with a 30-yarder. Though his personal string of 16 consecutive successful kicks ended on that same day with a 34-yard miss in the first half, Gramatica came back to hit a 38-yarder as time expired, giving the Bucs a 10-3 halftime lead.
In the process, Gramatica moved into first place among NFC kickers in scoring (St. Louis RB Marshall Faulk leads all conference players with 118 points), pushing his 2000 total to 112 points, a new team record. Gramatica had set that record as a rookie, scoring 106 points. He is the only player in team history to have surpassed 100 points in a season.
In addition to his team scoring record, Gramatica has also broken the Bucs' standard for field goals of 50 or more yards in a single season (five). He needs two more extra points and three more field goals to break the Tampa Bay records in both of those categories.
Gramatica's accolade is the seventh Player of the Week award won by a Buccaneer this season, tying the team record set last year. This is the first time, however, that the Bucs have had seven different players win the award. Derrick Brooks (Week 1), Ronde Barber (Week 2) and Warren Sapp (Week 3) have won it on the defensive side, Shaun King (Week 9) and Warrick Dunn (Week 14) were offensive honorees and Gramatica and Karl Williams (Week 13) each took one for special teams.
This marks the second time this season that the Bucs have had one of their own named NFC Player of the Week in three consecutive weeks.