Winter 2022 magazine

Chargers K Dustin Hopkins hits game-winning FG with injured leg, thanks 'Lord & Savior'

Los Angeles Chargers kicker Dustin Hopkins had a two-part routine as he hit four field goals in his team’s 19-16 overtime win against the Denver Broncos on Monday night. He kept asking the Lord to be with him and kept reminding himself pain is temporary.

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Hopkins injured his leg on an extra point in the second quarter but managed to convert every field goal he attempted despite the pain. The third field goal tied the game at 16 with 4:02 remaining and the fourth won the game in overtime.

In an on-field interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the game, Hopkins gave glory to God before saying anything about his gritty performance.

“I just want to say thank you to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” he told Salters. “I’ve got so much to be thankful for apart from football, and so when something like this happens, I’m blessed either way. But to be on the good side of that obviously feels a lot better. But yeah, I was hurting pretty good.”

Hopkins went into more detail about the injury and his mindset while speaking to the media in the locker room. He said he felt his hamstring pop on the extra point but still felt he was the best option to kick.

When asked about the pressure he felt, Hopkins pointed to his faith once again, saying it helped him keep everything in perspective.

“Make or miss, it’s for my good, whether that’s character or for the team or any of that,” he said, referencing Romans 8:28. “So, I just don’t put too much stock in the situation and try to remember who I am and Whose I am.”

He also posted on Instagram following the win, declaring that “God is faithful regardless of circumstance,” and referencing Colossians 1:15-20.

 

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The 32-year-old was a sixth-round draft pick — a rare honor for a kicker — in 2013 by the Buffalo Bills, but he injured his groin before he could make his NFL debut. He landed in Washington D.C. in 2015 and connected on 84% of his field goals in six-plus seasons with the team.

Washington released Hopkins midway through the 2021 season, and he was a member of the Chargers a week later. He was 18-of-20 on field goals in six games with Los Angeles, which earned him a three-year deal this offseason. In five games this season, Hopkins has missed just one field goal and is perfect on extra points.

Hopkins joined the Sports Spectrum Podcast in July to talk about his faith journey and the importance of seeking God’s presence. He said he found peace in God’s plan after being cut even though he had no idea what his next step would be.

“I just trusted that the Lord would bring us somewhere. … I knew He’s working for our good in all things, and I was trusting in that,” Hopkins said.

On the podcast, Hopkins shared that one of the things God is teaching him is to make sure he is chasing after a relationship with Christ first.

“I think a lot of times, I try to do it on my own strength, like, ‘I’ve got to be better about reading’ or ‘I’ve got to be better about praying without ceasing throughout my day.’ … Seeking Him in those moments and seeking His presence, I think those other things come along with Him,” he said.

The Chargers are now 4-2 thanks to Hopkins’ heroics. They take a three-game winning streak into their home game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Kickoff is at 4:25 p.m. ET.

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