Through the first four games of the 2012 regular-season, Dawson connected on all eight of his field goal attempts and is six-for-six on those kicks of at least 40 yards. Dawson has converted all four of his attempts from 50-plus, including three against the Baltimore Ravens.
Dawson currently leads the league with those four field goals of at least 50 yards.
“He plays a position where he scores points and when we don’t get it in the end zone, he’s been very, very dependable about making his kicks, whatever the distance,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. “I think that’s awesome and there’s a lot of games where the conditions are less than ideal to kick field goals.”
Over the last 20 games, Dawson has made 11 of 12 field goal attempts from at least 50 yards. He has made as many field goals from 50 yards than the second-place holders on that list attempted. David Akers of San Francisco and Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski both went eight-of-11 in the last 20 games.
“I think I trust him and you’re seeing field goals around the league being made at a higher percentage,” Shurmur said. “The snap-hold-kick being automatic, we’re seeing that happen.”
Dawson has earned the trust of his coaches and teammates by being the most accurate kicker in Browns history.
Dawson has converted 284-of-340 attempts and his 83.5 field goal percentage is the all-time mark for the Browns. He is the ninth-most accurate kicker in NFL history of those players with at least 100 career attempts and is tied with radio analyst Doug Dieken for the third-most games played as a Brown.
Dawson has played in 203 games and scored the second-most points in team history (1,186).
“There’s something about Phil,” Shurmur said. “Phil’s a winner and he’s been able to do it over the years for a very long time. In my time here in Cleveland, I’ve gained a huge appreciation for Phil. He and I talk frequently and I appreciate, really everything he brings to the table. He’s a pro and I can’t imagine there’s really a better kicker anywhere else. I think we’re really blessed to have him as our kicker.”
Throughout his career, Dawson has made 21 of his 31 field goal attempts from 50 yards with a career-long 56-yarder in the waning seconds of a “Monday Night Football” win over the Buffalo Bills on Nov. 17, 2008.
The NFL record for the longest field goal is 63 yards. Four players -- Janikowski, Tom Dempsey, Jason Elam and David Akers -- co-hold the mark and should the Browns need a field goal of that length, Shurmur would not hesitate to send out Dawson to attempt such a kick.
“If it’s a situation where we need to win the game and the clock is the way where it makes sense to kick that field goal, then you do it,” Shurmur said.