Baltimore Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff didn’t run and hide under a rock following Sunday’s bitter 23-20 defeat in the AFC Championship Game.
Cundiff, an All-Pro a season ago, sent a potential 32-yard field goal wide left with 15 seconds left in regulation, ending the Ravens’ season and Super Bowl hopes.
Shortly after missing what has to be the biggest kick of his career to date, Cundiff addressed the media and took ownership of his botched kick.
“It’s a kick I’ve kicked a thousand times in my career. I just went out there and didn’t convert,” Cundiff said, via MASNSports.com. “That’s the way things go. There’s really no excuse for it. It just didn’t go through.”
While Cundiff had a season for the ages in 2010, connecting on 90 percent of his kicks, the same could not be said in 2011.
He finished the regular season having hit on just 28 of his 37 attempts (76 percent), but all of that could have been neglected if Cundiff had come through in the postseason. He made two kicks from over 40+ plus yards in the team’s divisional-round victory over the Texans, and hit on 20- and 39-yard attempts against the Patriots, but with the game in the balance with just seconds remaining, he shanked the 32-yard attempt to the left.
“I felt like up to this point, I really have given these guys a lot of reason to believe in me and that things would come through,” Cundiff said. “So, I think if anything, I think the disappointment is letting my teammates down. This is a team game. You know that Ray (Lewis) has poured his heart out, and he’s had a long career, and you don’t know how many years he has left, and to let him down is pretty tough.”
The untimely miss was Cundiff’s first in the fourth quarter or overtime since the start of the 2010 season, but it closes the book on the 2011 season and it sent the Ravens back to Baltimore having come as close as you could come without advancing to the Super Bowl in Indianapolis.
“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.”