Blog Entry

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Posted on: January 23, 2012 9:18 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2012 9:20 pm
Cundiff isn't making excuses but admits there was confusion on the sidelines Sunday. (AP)

By Ryan Wilson

Not long after kicker Billy Cundiff pull-hooked a 32-yard field-goal attempt that would've likely sent the Ravens and Patriots to overtime, we wondered why Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh didn't use the team's last timeout. He said it never occurred to him, even though Cundiff was clearly rushed as he set up for a pretty important kick. By the time the ball was finally snapped, there was just one second remaining on the play clock.

A day later, there were reports that Cundiff "wasn't paying attention" which, frankly, seemed ludicrous.

Stefan Fatsis, who wrote a book on his summer as a training-camp kicker for the Broncos, spoke Monday with Cundiff who explained exactly what happened on that final, fateful play.

Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal with 11 seconds left that would have sent the game into overtime, and instead sent the Patriots to the Super Bowl. 

Like most kickers, Cundiff has a routine on every drive that starts on first down and ends on fourth down, either with him on the field attempting a field goal or with the Ravens' punting. As he explained to Fatsis, because NFL sidelines are a crowded place, it's easiest to follow the action by watching it live on the stadium scoreboard. Except on the Ravens' final drive Sunday, the scoreboard read third down when, in reality, it was fourth down. Fatsis explains:

"Then, suddenly, chaos on the sidelines. Coaches were screaming — from the opposite end of the field to where Cundiff was thinking his third-down pre-kick kicker thoughts — for the field-goal unit. The play clock was ticking and Cundiff, as per normal, was back from the sideline and farther from the line of scrimmage than his teammates. As he was not expecting to go in yet, he had to run to get into position for a game-tying kick."

The confusion stemmed from an Anquan Boldin catch-and-fumble that was mistaken for a first down. (Boldin had fumbled the ball forward past the first-down marker. The rules state the ball must be returned to the spot of the fumble, which is what happened.)

According to the Baltimore Sun's Matt Vensel, "[Terrell] Suggs said there was a discrepancy between the scoreboard at Gillette Stadium and what the officials were saying about what the down and distance was after Boldin’s fumble. The Ravens took shots at the end zone on 2nd-and-1 and 3rd-and-1 before bringing out Cundiff for a 32-yard field goal attempt."

The problem: what was actually second and third down on the field was shown on the scoreboard as first and second down, respectively. Hence Cundiff's confusion and the subsequent scrambling to get the kick off.

Which again raises the question: why didn't Harbaugh call timeout.

It doesn't matter now, of course. Cundiff, to his credit, isn't looking to shirk the blame. And his teammates, to a man, have his back.

"Every single guy who said something to me after the game, in the locker room, or on the plane" was supportive, Cundiff told Fatsis, including Harbaugh.

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Since: Feb 6, 2008
Posted on: January 24, 2012 8:34 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Are kickers not allowed to call Timeouts? If I was a Head Coach with a timeout remaining to use, I would be more than willing to let him use it knowing he was doing it out of comfort. A kick like that can't and shouldn't be rushed...

Since: Apr 9, 2011
Posted on: January 24, 2012 8:31 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Ouch, man I guess that would explain the miss on an easy chip shot.

Since: Dec 22, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 8:31 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

1. Harbaugh must call a timeout in that situation. Period. He didn't. Whwn the kicker is rushing out there and the play clock says 7 secs . . 6 secs. You must call a timeout if you have one. He rushed the kicker. Harbaugh screwed up. This needs to be known for the future.

2. The Ravens need to review their last-minute pre-FG kick routine. What if Flacco or a receiver got tackled inbounds? Yes, they had the TO. But what happens when they don't have a TO left? Does Cundiff still practice 50 yards away from the down line? You need to get that guy closer to the field in case of an emergency. That's what coaches and assistants are for. 

Since: Oct 20, 2011
Posted on: January 24, 2012 8:30 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

The truth is that even though it was a little rushed, he was perfectly set before the snap, and it was only a 31 yarder, guys make that in their sleep. He should have made the kick, period.

Since: Jan 24, 2008
Posted on: January 24, 2012 8:25 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Tonkaman since I was sitting behind the goalpost it was wide right.  I should have made that point clearer.

Since: Jan 24, 2012
Posted on: January 24, 2012 8:24 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Sep 12, 2010
Posted on: January 24, 2012 8:21 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?


Since: Aug 23, 2010
Posted on: January 24, 2012 8:08 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

No, the Pats appear to be winning and you  are just blinded by their success.  It's funny to me that every time the Pats win they are cheating but when they lose they aren't cheating are they.  You can call it what you want be the fact of the matter is that the Pats are in the Superbowl and you are not.  This makes 2 Superbowl appearances post spygate (if you want to call it that) so how is that cheating.  You're a hater that hate the fact that the Pats are great and the 5 Superbowl appearances for Brady and co you can't even fathom are begin to relate.Cool

Since: Jan 24, 2008
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:59 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Ravewood it was not a TD catch.  You need to look up the rules of what a catch is in the NFL and clearly Evans did not catch the ball.  Rule states that the Receiver must have control of the ball and 2 feet touching the ground inbounds - clearly Evans does not get the second foot down with control of the ball. To look further into a catch - the Receiver must maintain control of the ball after 2 feet are inbounds and make what would be considered a football move - this could mean many things - like falling to the ground or making a pivot, or continuing his forward moving progress.  In the end Evans did not hang on to the football because Sterling Moore made a fantastic play.  Have a good off season Ravewood.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:46 am

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

I was yelling time out...time out from home. NO excuse use them you can't take them with you.

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