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St. Louis Rams: Punter Johnny Hekker Sets Record, Plus More NFC West News

September 30, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams punter Johnny Hekker (6) is congratulated after throwing a touchdown pass on a fake field goal attempt against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE
Tyson LanglandNFC West Lead WriterOctober 10, 2012

During the Rams' Week 5 game against the Arizona Cardinals, rookie punter Johnny Hekker set a franchise record for gross punting average in a game. On average, his seven punts on Thursday Night Football traveled 56.9 yards.

There have only been three other times in franchise history when a punter has averaged 56 yards a boot. So, you may ask, who was it?

It was Donnie Jones, the punter who was in St. Louis from 2007 to 2011. He accomplished the feat the three other times it happened, averaging 56, 56.2 and 56.3 yards.

Hekker's 56.9-yard average may not even be the most impressive fact of the night. That he did it against Patrick Peterson makes it that much better.

Here's what Hekker told Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"It's a scary night," Hekker said. "It's frightening to have to punt to a guy like Patrick Peterson. The guy's electric with the ball in his hands. Our guys did a great job of covering the punts that were in the field of play that he was able to run with. They did a great job all night of containing him, not letting him take it to the house."

Head coach Jeff Fisher was also very pleased with his performance, considering Peterson returned two punts on the Rams' coverage unit last year:

"John was very efficient," coach Jeff Fisher said. "Five out of his seven punts were exactly where he needed to put them against a very, very good returner. ... You don't realize how difficult it is for a punter to turn and angle, and put the ball on the boundary like that in the face of a rush. I thought he did a very, very good job."

Hekker and Greg "The Leg" Zuerlein are quietly becoming one of the best kicker, punter combos the NFL has to offer. With that, let us take a look at the rest of the news around the NFC West.


Arizona Cardinals

Kent Somers of TucsonCitizen.com asks, can Arizona sustain success despite its major flaws?

Jonathan Irwin of Bleacher Report gives us the four ways Ken Whisenhunt is saving his job this season.


San Francisco 49ers

Cam Inman of MercuryNews.com tells us that no one is more motivated than Kyle Williams for this Sunday's upcoming game.

Eric Steitz of Bleacher Report asks, is Colin Kaepernick the quarterback Tim Tebow was supposed to be?


Seattle Seahawks

Patriots.com breaks down all the historical data between the New England Patriots and Seahawks. New England heads to the Pacific Northwest for the first time since 2008.

Thomas Holmes of Bleacher Report says Bruce Irvin and Bobby Wagner provide Seattle with a rookie one-two punch.


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