ESPN’s John Clayton reported the following on the injury:
Kicker Steven Hauschka of the Seahawks injured an ankle. His return is questionable— John Clayton (@ClaytonESPN) January 6, 2013
Hauschka had made a 32-yard field goal and successfully converted an extra point at the time of the injury. He returned after the injury to kick a 29-yard field goal to cut the Washington lead to 14-13 at the half.
The 27-year-old is in his fifth season out of North Carolina State and is in his second year as the Seahawks’ kicker. During the regular season, he converted 24-of-27 field-goal attempts.
While kickers are often the subject of jokes from NFL fans, losing one in the midst of a playoff game can be extremely detrimental to a team’s chances to win.
When two evenly matched teams face off, all the little things matter, and the importance of special teams is magnified. If the game comes down to a last-second field goal, or an onside kick is necessary, a coach would rather not trot his punter out onto the field to fill in for an injured kicker.
If Hauschka is unable to play in the second half, it may swing this contest Washington’s way. While a kicker’s overall impact on the game is often minimal, this is an injury that should certainly be monitored.
Check back here for updates on his condition going forward.