San Francisco 49ers

Little kicks: NFL makes point-after attempt more difficult

Kicker Phil Dawson will have to scoot back 13 yards when attempting extra points in 2015.
Kicker Phil Dawson will have to scoot back 13 yards when attempting extra points in 2015. The Bee

The easiest points in all of sports now at least will be a little harder to come by.

The NFL owners today voted to move point-after touchdown attempts from the 2 to the 15-yard line, making the one-point conversions 33-yard kicks instead of 20 yarders. Last year, teams were successful on 99.5 percent of their extra-point attempts, and the league wanted to make the kicks more challenging.

How much harder will it be?

Kickers made 94.3 percent of their PATs last preseason when the league was experimenting with the rule change. The NFL expects the average to be about 93 or 94 percent this season and could move the ball back even farther in the future if kickers master this spot as well.

As for 49ers kicker Phil Dawson, he's made all but eight of his 435 PAT attempts over his 16-year career. The 40-year-old kicker has not missed one since he joined the 49ers in 2013.

Dawson is 109-126 (86.5 percent) on field goals between 30 and 39 yards, the length of the new extra points. His only miss from that distance with the 49ers came in Week 1 last season against Dallas.

Dawson could be working with a new holder this season if fifth-round draft pick Bradley Pinion ousts Andy Lee at punter. He also has potential bad-weather outings in Chicago and Cleveland in December.

Two-point conversions will be from the 2-yard line. Defenses now can return a fumbled or intercepted attempt for two points of their own.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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