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Trust, preparation pay off for Nick Novak

SAN DIEGO -- Chargers coach Mike McCoy wouldn’t bite, when asked about his thoughts on kicker Nick Novak's current streak of 23 straight made field goals dating back to last season

Are you a little superstitious there, Mike?

“The only thing I’ll say about kickers is just keep it going,” McCoy said, with a wry smile. “Every time you turn on the TV and you start talking about that thing, the next thing you know, peww! [McCoy making a sound imitating a missed kick].”

Unlike his head coach, Novak said he doesn’t believe in luck or superstition when considering his performance on the field. The hard-working and meticulous Novak relies on diligent preparation for his consistent performance on game days.

“The big thing is trust what you do and be confident,” Novak said. “The guys that know what they’re doing are able to perform at a consistent level. I don’t believe in being streaky. It’s just being confident in what you’re doing, and knowing that the guys I work with like [long snapper] Mike [Windt] and (holder) Mike Scifres are confident in what they’re doing, and that gives me tons of confidence to go out there and do my job.”

Case in point: Novak finished 2-for-2 in field goals -- from 19 and 37 yards -- in his team’s 22-10 win against Buffalo last week at Ralph Wilson Stadium, known around the league as one of the toughest places to kick because of swirling winds that make it difficult to judge which way the ball will drift.

“I had a good warm-up and just tried to read the flags as best I could,” Novak said. “I went off feel. You just have to really trust your line and know that what you found out during warm-ups is going to work for you during the game.

“But it’s a constant process of going out there in between quarters, doing some dry runs and just staying on top of it.”

As usual, Novak was one of the first San Diego players on the field last week, getting an early look at which way the wind was blowing.

Novak’s current streak of 23 straight field goals is the second-longest streak in team history. Novak is six shy of matching the team record of 29 in a row set by John Carney during the 1992-93 seasons.

Novak hasn’t missed a field goal during the regular season since he had a 37-yarder blocked in a 27-17 loss at Oakland on Oct. 6 of last year.

Novak’s streak of 23 field goals in a row is tied for the second-most active streak in the NFL with Pittsburgh’s Shaun Suisham, and five behind Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey’s 28 straight, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Mike Vanderjagt holds the record for most consecutive field goals made at 42 while with the Indianapolis Colts during the 2002-04 seasons.