Bills backup QB who replaced ‘Punt God’ Matt Araiza amid rape allegations pins Panthers at 8-yard line
What was supposed to be a secure position for the Buffalo Bills became a huge question mark for the team. They seemed set for the near-future when they promoted rookie punter Matt Araiza, dubbed as the “Punt God” by fans. However, recent rape allegations against Araiza have put their punting future in jeopardy.
Ahead of their preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, the Bills elected to take Matt Araiza out of the lineup. After releasing Matt Haack, Buffalo was all out of punters. Because of that, they decided to try another Matt to punt for them: backup quarterback Matt Barkley. (via Alaina Getzenberg)
QB Matt Barkley is practicing punting. Not bad. pic.twitter.com/JQ1rUuawBJ
— Alaina Getzenberg (@agetzenberg) August 26, 2022
Barkley’s first punt was not news-worthy: it was a good punt, but nothing spectacular even by non-punter standards. One of his later punts, though, gained a bit of popularity. The Bills QB-turned-punter kicked a punt well into Panthers territory, pinning them behind their 10-yard line. Not bad for a QB punt, huh. (via Highlight Heaven)
Matt Barkley with a nice 2nd punt pic.twitter.com/PmIrLcZKcH
— alex (@highlghtheaven) August 27, 2022
Should the Bills give a punishment to Matt Araiza, they will more than likely want to hire someone else to punt other than Barkley. Unfortunately, their old punter is already unavailable: Haack was quickly picked up by the Indianapolis Colts. Despite Buffalo’s propensity for going for it on fourth down, a great punter would ease the pressure on their offense significantly.
As for Araiza, the Bills are presumably still waiting for the legal proceedings to finish before laying down the hammer on the punter. As noted by many reporters, the NFL is not obligated to give a punishment to Araiza due to the timing of the reported rape incident. We will keep you updated on future developments surrounding this case.