Jake Moody

Shanahan's gamble pays off with Moody's historic field goal vs. Rams

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INGLEWOOD — Jake Moody notched a new NFL career-long field goal of 57 yards in the 49ers' 30-23 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at SoFi Stadium, but that wasn’t without a little hesitation by coach Kyle Shanahan.

In the team’s second drive of the second half, the offense stalled out, gaining only 33 yards on five plays. That’s when Shanahan called for his rookie kicker to attempt a deep field goal on fourth-and-7 from the 39-yard line.

“There was a little bit of hesitation between that or trying to pin them deep,” Shanahan said via conference call on Monday. “The way they had been going on offense, they had been scoring, so I thought we needed points, but it makes it a hell of a lot easier for them if you miss that kick at midfield. 

“So, there was some hesitation on it, but we ended up rolling the dice, and he definitely gave us a lot more confidence after that.”

Moody had a rough go in the preseason, missing point-after attempts as well as short field goals. This was surprising to Shanahan after the third-round pick of the 2023 NFL Draft had been completely solid during his training camp sessions from both long and short distances.

Now, having recorded six successful field goals and an equal amount of extra points through two weeks, Moody has shown his coach he can handle the pressure. His 57-yarder on Sunday was the second-longest field goal in 49ers franchise history, behind a 63-yard make by David Akers in 2011, and the longest by a San Francisco rookie.

“It’s been real impressive,” Shanahan said. “Just getting to know the guy, being around him just a short amount of time, he really handles himself extremely well. Hitting that rough patch in those preseason games, they kind of came out of no where because practice wasn’t like that.

“To watch him have to go through that and to watch him have to go through the injury that he battled right after that, I thought was really impressive of him to get himself ready for these two games. And he’s done a hell of a job in both of them.” 

After the game, the young kicker appeared relaxed -- and maybe even a little relieved -- that his preseason difficulties are in the rearview mirror. There will be inevitable challenges as Moody’s career continues, but for now, he is enjoying the ride.

“Getting back in the groove, having fun out there,” Moody said. “It’s no longer the rookie nerves, or beginning of the year nerves. That’s usually a theme, but now we’re grooving, so that’s a good feeling.” 

Moody understands that pressure is an inevitable part of his job, and he enjoys the challenges -- only hoping to give the team momentum when needed.

“Feels really good to come in as a rookie, be called upon, having to contribute with some big-time kicks,” Moody said. “That’s my job and what I signed up for. Whether or not people would want to be in that situation, that’s the stuff that I live for, and it felt really good to be a part of a great win like that.”

Moody and the undefeated 49ers have a short week ahead to recover before hosting the New York Giants in their home opener on Thursday night at Levi’s Stadium. 

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