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Brett Kern turns a football into a weapon
NASHVILLE http://www.panthersfootballauthentic.com/christian-miller-jersey-authentic , Tenn. (AP) when he punts, pinning opponents near their goal line or leaving returners nowhere to run by angling a ball right at the sideline. After the Tennessee Titans punter boomed a 74-yarder in a win over Cincinnati, matching the longest punt this season, the NFL came calling with a random drug test. Yes, of a punter, and that's why he's the league's No. 1 player at his position in The Associated Press positional rankings released Friday. Kern received six of 11 first-place votes in a 10-points-to-one-point system for 100 points and an easy margin over Oakland's Marquette King (86). Kern keeps getting better every year, and he appears headed toward the first Pro Bowl berth with the best season of his career. "A 10-year veteran few outside of Music City have heard of," said AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner, who's based in New York. "But Kern's numbers are brilliant for a team with a so-so offense." The Titans punter leads the NFL averaging 51.4 yards per punt, which would tie the NFL record for a season set by Hall of Famer Sammy Baugh in 1940 if Kern keeps that pace over the final four games. Kern also leads the league with a 45.4-yard net average. AP's Simmi Buttar, also based in New York Jordan Scarlett Jersey , notes Kern has 30 punts of at least 50 yards this season. Kern is in his ninth season with Tennessee after being claimed off waivers from Denver in 2009. AP's Josh Dubow, based in San Francisco, said Kern has had a major boost in production, improving his gross and net averages by about 7 yards each to top this list. For AP's Dave Campbell based in Minnesota, Kern averaging more than 50 yards per punt was enough. "And to paraphrase Forrest Gump: That's about all you have to say about that," Campbell said. King also is having the best season of his career, averaging 49.2 yards per punt. "He's not just an excellent punter, he's got swagger and he doesn't care that haters just want him to punt and shut up," said AP's Rob Maaddi, based in Philadelphia. The Rams' Johnny Hekker was the only other punter receiving multiple first-place votes with three, and he finished fourth in the rankings with 74 points. Houston's Shane Lechler and Baltimore's Sam Koch also got one each David Montgomery Jersey , and Lechler finished third with 74 points. Only Kern, King, Hekker and Lechler were on all 11 ballots, with 21 punters receiving votes. "Lechler keeps on kickin' at 41 years old, and he remains one of the games steadiest and most consistent punters," said AP's Dennis Waszak, based in New York. "The seven-time Pro Bowl selection is the NFL's career leader in punting average at 47.5 yards and has the league's longest active streak of games played." A three-time Pro Bowl pick, Hekker led the NFL with 51 punts inside the 20 last season. He isn't getting as many opportunities to kick this season with Los Angeles' offense humming along so well. "Hekker is easily the league's best punter with the power for long kicks and the control to avoid touchbacks," Dubow said. "He can even throw it as well with nine completions on fakes." Koch leads the NFL placing 31 punts inside the 20, and he's tied for the second-most punts this season with 66. He finished fifth in the rankings. "Consistently outstanding, an inside-the-20 machine http://www.bearsfootballauthentics.com/riley-ridley-jersey-authentic , and plays a big role in Justin Tucker's success as Baltimore's holder," Maaddi said. Dallas' Chris Jones finished sixth with 27 points. "Only Koch has dropped more punts inside the 20-yard line than Jones," Campbell said. Thomas Morstead of New Orleans ranked seventh with 25 points. Kevin Huber of Cincinnati and Cleveland's Britton Colquitt tied for eighth with 18 points. Carolina's Michael Palardy, in just his second season, rounded out the Top 10. -- EDITOR'S NOTE - The Associated Press is ranking the top 10 players at a different position every week of the NFL season, based on votes by Pro Football Hall of Famer James Lofton and AP football writers Simmi Buttar, Dave Campbell, Schuyler Dixon, Josh Dubow, Howard Fendrich, Rob Maaddi Shareef Miller Jersey , Arnie Stapleton, Teresa M. Walker, Dennis Waszak Jr. and Barry Wilner. This feature is sent on Fridays. -- The Seahawks will have to wait another week to punch their playoff ticket.The 49ers didn't play like a three-win team, getting their fourth victory with a hard-fought 26-23 effort that went overtime. It was San Francisco's second consecutive win.It ended the Seahwaks' four-game winning streak and makes next week's game against the Chiefs more important.Seattle, which beat San Francisco 43-16 only two weeks ago, shot itself in the foot in overtime. The Seahawks got the ball first and Russell Wilson hit running back J.D. McKissic for a 32-yard gain to the San Francisco 48. But the play was negated by a holding call on Ethan Pocic. Seattle ended up punting, ending Wilson's chance for a 27th career fourth quarter or overtime comeback win.All the 49ers needed was one more chance . . . and one more Seahawks' penalty.The 49ers threw an incomplete pass on second-and-15 on their winning drive, but Shaquill Griffin was flagged for pass interference. It set up San Francisco at the Seattle 41.Jeff Wilson ran 23 yards on the next three downs, and Robbie Gould hit a 36-yard field goal with 3:06 remaining in overtime to win it.The Seahawks had 14 penalties for 148 yards, including, on one drive http://www.eaglesfootballauthentics.com/zach-brown-jersey-authentic , three 15-yard penalties.49ers quarterback Nick Mullens completed 20 of 29 passes for 275 yards and a touchdown. Dante Pettis caught five passes for 83 yards. Defensive lineman DeForest Buckner made 11 tackles, two sacks, three quarterback hits and four tackles for loss, which will put him in the conversation for NFC defensive player of the week.The Seahawks got two sacks from Jarran Reed, who also had two other quarterback hits, and Frank Clark had five tackles, a sack and three quarterback hits.Wilson finished 23-of-31 for 237 yards and two touchdowns, and Doug Baldwin caught four passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns. Chris Carson rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.