The Rushed FG Kick

I didn’t hear about this yesterday, but Stefan Fatsis observed it:

Five minutes after Baltimore Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff pulled that relatively short, potential game-tying field goal wide left, I texted him: “I’m so sorry, Billy. Hang in there.” When it comes to missed field goals, kicker solidarity trumps journalistic propriety every time.

Not to exonerate Cundiff, but the play itself looked threatened, if not doomed, from the outset.With the play clock at 10 seconds and ticking, I was stunned, like others, to see Cundiff racing onto the field. I haven’t talked to him or seen an explanation for the delay. It’s possible that Cundiff normally trots out a bit later than the rest of the field-goal unit. But this looked extreme. Cundiff was running pretty hard to get into position, and the ball was snapped as the play clock expired. You rarely see that on field goals. Then, unsurprisingly and definitely unconsciously, Cundiff rushed. When a kicker rushes, he rotates his hips too quickly, and when he rotates his hips too quickly his leg pushes the ball in the direction of the rotation. In this case, to the left. New England wins, 23-20….

When Ravens coach John Harbaugh was asked why he didn’t signal for a timeout, he answered, “That’s something we’ll have to look at.” (Don’t believe the argument that the Ravens didn’t want to ice their own kicker, because there’s no such thing as icing the kicker.)


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  • Peter

    Scot, nice pull from deadspin. Frequent much? Cundiff was quoted as saying that his normal routine was rushed, but wouldn’t allow that to be an excuse for missing a chip shot. Kickers do get a bad rap because all players miss tackles or drop balls (Lee Evans), but the kicker’s singular goal is magnified in the moment. Cundiff seems like the consummate professional, however, and he will live to fight another day.

  • Clint W
  • scotmcknight

    Clint W, wow, that’s all I have to say.

  • scotmcknight

    Peter, I don’t visit it intentionally… I pick up articles that are circulated on such sites as Zite.

  • Larry Barber

    Strange things happen to visiting teams in Gillette stadium … (probably gremlins).

  • Robert A

    No excuses, you train all year long to make the kick,

    Decent snap, great hold…it’s on the kicker.

    Regardless if he had the time out or not, you get the chance you make the kick. If Baltimore had three timeouts or no timeouts, the clock worked or didn’t, rain or no rain.

  • Phillip

    I have often wondered if “icing” the kicker actually does anything. The stats in the link on that matter are interesting.