Cundiff: ‘There’s Really No Excuse’

Teammates rallied around Billy Cundiff, saying no single player loses a game.

Posted by Garrett Downing on Sunday, January 22nd, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Categories: 2011 Season Gameday, AFC Title vs Patriots, Garrett Downing

Billy Cundiff had just missed the biggest field goal of his life, ending the Ravens season and Super Bowl dreams.

After the game, Cundiff offered no excuses.

“It’s a kick I’ve kicked probably a thousand times in my career and I went out there and just didn’t convert,” Cundiff said. “That’s just the way things go. There’s really no excuse for it.”

The 32-yard, game-tying field goal sailed wide left with 11 seconds left in the game, and the New England Patriots rushed onto the field to celebrate a 23-20 victory and second AFC championship in the last five years.

A successful attempt would have likely sent the game to overtime and kept alive the Ravens’ hopes of making a Super Bowl, but Cundiff’s teammates emphasized that he is not to blame for the loss.

Billy Cundiff On Missed FG

“As a man, not one play won or lost this game,” linebacker Ray Lewis said. “Could he have put us in a position to keep playing? Absolutely. But one play didn’t win or lose this game. There’s no one man that’s ever lost a game. We win as a team, we lose as a team.”

Teammates offered Cundiff encouragement after the game, but he said his biggest letdown was not giving them an opportunity to keep playing.

“I think the disappointment is letting my teammates down,” Cundiff said. “This is a team game, and to look at it and know that Ray has poured his heart out. He’s had a long career and you don’t know how many more years he has left, to let him down is pretty tough.”

Head Coach John Harbaugh, who was a special teams coordinator in Philadelphia for nine years, believes Cundiff will be able to rebound.

“I just told him it was going to be OK. He’s a great kicker. Everybody has a tough moment. All of us do. Billy will be fine.”

Earlier in the game, Cundiff had been successful on field-goal attempts of 39 and 20 yards.

Before the Ravens’ final drive, they had another chance in the fourth quarter to attempt a field goal to tie the game at 23. Baltimore was facing fourth-and-6 from the Patriots 33-yard line, but instead of attempting the 50-yard field goal, it opted to go for the first down.

Quarterback Joe Flacco ended up throwing an incomplete pass and New England took over possession, and Cundiff said he understood why John Harbaugh made the decision not to try the long field goal.

“You have to look at it as a statistical decision and take all of the emotion out of it,” Cundiff said. “If you look at my stats this year from 50-plus, I didn’t really give the coach a lot of confidence that I’m going to make that play.”

Cundiff made just one of six field-goal attempts from 50 yards or longer this year.

“This year I wasn’t as successful as I’d like to be from that range,” Cundiff said. “That probably made the decision for him pretty easy.”

As the Ravens head into the offseason, the sting of Cundiff’s fourth-quarter miss is likely to linger for a while, but he insists he will be able to move forward.

“I get paid to make field goals; I don’t get paid to miss field goals,” Cundiff said. “We’ll move on from this. It’s one of those things where it will strengthen me in the end.”

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