Cundiff Drills Clutch Kick After Early Miss

The Pro Bowl kicker hit the second-longest field goal ever at Heinz Field.

Posted by Garrett Downing on Monday, November 7th, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Categories: Garrett Downing, Week 9 vs Steelers

Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff ended two personal records Sunday night – one positive and one negative – and then he did something that only two other kickers have done in NFL history.

Cundiff ended his streak of consecutive misses beyond 50 yards, but also ended a stretch of consecutive makes on field goals shorter than 50 yards.

In the midst of all that, the Pro Bowl kicker came up with three clutch field goals that helped the Ravens take down the Steelers, 23-20, at Heinz Field.  On a night where the Ravens offense initially struggled to find the end zone, Cundiff converted on field goals of 18, 43 and 51 yards, and missed an attempt from 40 yards.

Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field is notoriously known as a difficult place for kickers because of the swirling winds and sloppy grass turf. Only two kickers in NFL history had ever made a field goal at Heinz Field of 50 yards or longer, and Cundiff joined that group with a clutch kick just before the half.

Cundiff drilled a 51-yard field goal, the second longest in Heinz Field history, to give the Ravens a 9-6 lead heading into the locker room.

“The one at the end of the half was probably the biggest one,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “That was huge for us.”

The kick broke a stretch where Cundiff had missed seven-straight field goal attempts from 50+ yards.

Before converting the long field goal, Cundiff missed a 40-yard attempt wide right near the end of the first quarter, which ended a stretch where Cundiff had converted on 32 consecutive attempts inside 50 yards.

Cundiff is 20-24 on field goal attempts this year, and all of his misses have been wide right.

“His drive foot slipped a little bit and that contributed to the push,” Harbaugh said.

Cundiff’s first field goal came on the game’s opening drive, where the Ravens drove 75 yards in 14 plays before getting stopped three times from the 1-yard line. Harbaugh considered going for the touchdown on fourth down, but decided to take the safe points rather than risk coming up empty on the long drive.

Cundiff also added a second quarter field goal that gave the Ravens a 6-3 lead at the time, before drilling the key field goal before halftime.

“Crunch time is critical,” Harbaugh said. “We talk and work on it all the time.”

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