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With two more touchbacks Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, Ravens Pro Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff tied Mitch Berger’s record of touchbacks in a season with 40.
But following the game, the first thing that came to mind for Cundiff was the two he didn’t boom deep into the end zone.
“Obviously I wish I would have [broken] in, right?” Cundiff said. “I feel like I left two kicks out there, I just didn’t get through them as well as I would have liked.”
Even though he didn’t break it, Cundiff’s record could be considered more impressive than Berger’s.
Of Berger’s 40 touchbacks, 32 came indoors as he was playing in the Minnesota Vikings’ weatherproof dome. Berger also had 112 kickoff attempts that year thanks to the Vikings’ prolific offense. Berger got touchbacks 36 percent of the time.
Cundiff’s mark was set in the cold outdoors of the AFC North. Cundiff set the record in 79 chances, meaning he notched touchbacks more than half of the time.
“I think that even tells you how impressive that record really is,” said Head Coach John Harbaugh, a former special teams coordinator.
Harbaugh, along with other coaches, gave Cundiff a hug as he walked off the field following the record-tying kick, which came in the third quarter on his fourth and final attempt of the game. The kick went eight yards deep into the end zone, where it was downed by Bengals’ returner Bernard Scott.
“I knew right away when I hit it there was no way he was going to bring it out, there was no way,” Cundiff said.
“I want to emphasize that for me this is more progression as a kicker and I’m setting a new standard for myself that I’m hopefully going to try to exceed each year.”
Cundiff’s first touchback came on Sunday’s opening kickoff. His next two attempts were two and three yards short of the end zone, respectively. Cundiff was given a boost by some atypical warm winter weather in Baltimore. The temperature at kickoff was 51 degrees.
“Considering the last three games have all been really cold, this felt like a warm summer day,” Cundiff said with a laugh. “It definitely helped.
“And I think just the confidence going in here and feeling the excitement of the crowd. It’s really strange to put the ball on the tee and have everyone be like, ‘Let’s get this touchback.’”
The veteran kicker also made both of his field goal attempts Sunday, from 25 and 47 yards, to finish 26-of-29 on the season.