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Cundiff Kicks Through Pain

Billy Cundiff could boot field goals just fine, but punter Sam Koch took over kickoff duties.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Monday, December 12th, 2011 at 11:51 am | Categories: 2011 Season Gameday, Ryan Mink, Week 14 vs Colts

Late last week, Billy Cundiff still wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to play against the Colts.

But the Pro Bowl kicker thought that, just like any other player on the team, he could deal with a little pain and still play.

Cundiff missed two practices last week due to a left calf injury described as cramping, but returned to the field on Sunday to boot one 36-yard field goal, kick off four times and connect on three extra points.

He was pulled in the second half on kickoffs in favor of punter Sam Koch after Cundiff felt something during kickoffs in the first half.

Asked how his calf felt afterwards, Cundiff said, “It’s not that great, but it was good enough to play and that’s all that really matters.”

“At this time of the year, most guys on our team aren’t at 100 percent. For me, I felt like it was good enough to kick field goals and kick off for a little while, so that’s why I went in.”

Cundiff said field goals were not a problem, and that his injury actually helped reinforce better technique because he’s got to stay lighter on his feet.

His field goal from the right hash gave the Ravens a 10-point, [add hyphen] first-quarter lead. Cundiff missed two field goals in tough weather conditions last week in Cleveland, both from the right hash.

Cundiff is 17-of-17 kicking at home this year, but 10-of-18 on the road.

“Contrary to popular belief, I’m still very confident no matter where we are on the field,” he said. “Right hash was never in my mind. It’s just another field goal. And I feel very comfortable kicking at home.”

Kicking off was the problem on Sunday.

Cundiff, who entered the game ranked second in the NFL in touchbacks, kicked off four times in the first half, notched a touchback to start the game and averaged 65 yards per boot. His season average is 69 yards, so he wasn’t far off that pace.

But with the Ravens leading 17-3 at halftime, they opted to play it safe go with Koch on kickoffs. Cundiff put on a pair of sweatpants and took the rest of the day off.

After a third-quarter touchdown, Koch boomed a 63-yard kickoff down to the 2-yard line.

“When you kick off, you have to really get after it and it places a lot of stress on everything,” Cundiff said. “I just couldn’t really kick off the way I wanted to. If we could get away with Sam kicking off, then why not rest it?”

Cundiff said he expects his leg will be “much better next week” and that he intends to play against the San Diego Chargers.

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