It started poorly for Cleveland Browns kicker Dustin Hopkins when missed his first field goal attempt in last week’s victory over the San Francisco 49ers but he made a terrific comeback.
He then converted field goals of 29, 42, 46, and 50 yards plus an extra point which became the bulk of the Browns’ offensive scoring. He also had one tackle on a play that just may have been a kickoff return for a touchdown. This success landed him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his efforts.
Dustin Hopkins gives the Browns a late 19-16 lead. pic.twitter.com/CdgPbxnVCm— Arye Pulli (@AryePulli) October 15, 2023
He is a perfect 4-4 on field goals of 50-yards or greater having one in four of the five games so far this year. Overall, Hopkins is 12-14 on field goal attempts and 5-5 on PATs. His other miss came against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2 in the 26-22 loss. If he had made that kick, when Cleveland was driving late in the game they would have only needed a field goal instead of a touchdown to go ahead.
Hopkins’ field goal percentage is 85.7% and is ranked 14th among kickers with 10 attempts or more. His numbers are as follows - 20-29: 1-1; 30-39: 1-1; 40-49: 6-8; 50+: 4-4.
He also has 25 kickoffs of which 16 were touchbacks and is ranked 28th in this category. He is averaging 63.9 yards per kickoff.
Hopkins came to the Browns in a trade with the Los Angeles Chargers after the franchise realized that their drafted kicker Cade York wasn’t going to be consistent going forward in a year in which Cleveland has playoff aspirations.
He was highly recruited coming out of high school as a cornerback and kicker and then was a four-year starter at kicker with Florida State. As far as accolades, as a junior at FSU Hopkins was named Honorable Mention All-American and First Team All-ACC. In his final year, he was selected First Team All-American and First Team All-ACC. In 2011 he set a new FSU record for kicking 109 PATs in a row.
Hopkins then was drafted by the Buffalo Bills and spent one training camp with the New Orleans Saints before starting an eight-year run with Washington. These experiences taught him how to kick in cold elements. From there he landed in Los Angeles where this past training camp he was in fierce competition with the youngster Cameron Dicker, another very good kicker. Once the Chargers decided to go with Dicker, Hopkins was available for trade to which Browns GM Andrew Berry sent a 2025 seventh-round pick to LA for the talented kicker.
This is Hopkins’ third NFL weekly honor.
In 2020 while with Washington, Hopkins was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week in a 23-17 win over the Steelers in Week 13. While with the Chargers in 2022, in Week 6 he pulled a hamstring but continued to play and nailed the game-winner against the Denver Broncos. For his efforts, he was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Every playoff-caliber club has a dependable kicker. And now so do the Browns. It should be noted that Cleveland also has in-house an excellent long snapper in Charley Hughlett who signed a four-year deal last season.
At this point in the season with the offense struggling to find the end zone with just four rushing touchdowns and four receiving TDs, Hopkins appears to have the team’s offensive MVP sewed up.