Blog Entry

Why didn't Ravens use last timeout for Cundiff?

Posted on: January 22, 2012 7:26 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2012 7:46 pm
John Harbaugh will have to answer questions all offseason about why he didn't use that last timeout in Foxboro. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

One of the Ravens' biggest questions heading into the Patriots game -- the play of quarterback Joe Flacco -- turned into their biggest asset. Flacco outplayed counterpart and future Hall of Famer Tom Brady, and if not suspect coaching on that final, fateful drive, Baltimore -- not New England -- might be celebrating an AFC Championship victory and an impending trip to Indianapolis for the Super Bowl.

Instead, the Ravens have the offseason to assess and reassess what went wrong, and to decide if Flacco truly is their franchise quarterback. We'll get that conversation started by pointing to one critical mistake in the game's final moments that had everything to do with the outcome.

First, let's set the stage: the Ravens held the Patriots to four plays on their previous two drives, the first ended in an interception in the end zone and the other was a three-and-out that gave Baltimore the ball at their own 21, trailing 23-20, and with 1:44 on the clock.

Flacco calmly moved the ball down the field, needing seven plays to get the Ravens to the Pats' 23-yard line. Facing a 2nd and 1 from the New England 14 with 27 seconds left, Flacco hit Lee Evans in the hands, in the end zone for what should've been the go-ahead touchdown. Pats cornerback Sterling Moore broke up the pass before Evans got two feet down. Incomplete pass.

After the game, some Ravens' supporters -- including coach John Harbaugh -- thought Evans had scored. "I'm surprised they didn't look at it," Harbaugh said in his post-game press conference. (The likely reason it wasn't reviewed: again, Evans only got one foot down. You can see it in the video here. And read the NFL's official explanation here.)

And while Lee's drop was big, it wasn't the primary reason for the final result. That would come two plays later when Baltimore, with one timeout left, instead chose to rush kicker Billy Cundiff on the field and attempt a field goal to tie the game. Cundiff looked hurried as he sprinted from midfield to Pats' 22-yard line. When arrived at his holder there were 10 seconds remaining on the play clock. And, of course, that one timeout that would ultimately go unused. The ball was snapped as the play clock ticked down to :01 and Cundiff promptly honked it. Game over. Ravens lose, despite one of Flacco's best efforts in his four-year career.

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. 

Harbaugh was asked afterwards if he thought about using that timeout and he said it never occurred to him.

"It's a kick I've kicked probably a thousand times out there," Cundiff told reporters after the game. "... I didn't convert and that's the way things go. There's really no excuse for it."

"I just told [Cundiff] it's going to be okay," Harbaugh said. "Everybody has a bad day ... Billy's going to be fine."

Cardinals kicker Jay Feely tweeted after the game that it's the kicker's job to call timeout if he feels rushed.

Or, you know, the coach could do it.

And if you're still skeptical that icing the kicker is a good strategy (it's not), credit to Bill Belichick for not using one of New England's timeouts to "ice" Cundiff. We're guessing he saw the chaos unfolding and didn't want to do anything to help the Ravens out.

The Patriots beat the Ravens 23-20 in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday after Baltimore's Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field-goal attempt with 11 seconds remaining that would have tied the score. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms recap all the action. 

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Since: Jul 22, 2007
Posted on: January 23, 2012 12:10 pm

Why didn't Ravens use last timeout for Cundiff?

Still NO good explanation as to why Cundiff came rushing in from MID FIELD??  Where the hell was he?  It's as if he was in the locker room using the bathroom when he was told he was up and came running in.  Harbaugh should've called timeout. LEE EVANS is a loser. The Pats got one back. They got ripped off in the 2006 AFC Championship Game by the refs- so it's good they get back a Super Bowl appearance they should've had. And it's likely they'll right the wrong of their 2007 Super Bowl loss to the Giants. But, they'll still be owed 1 more- so look for a repeat.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: January 23, 2012 9:50 am


I'm sick of hearing this ...  PLAY LIKE A RAVEN ...!!!  


did the ravens win the superbowl last year ?

did the ravens win the year before that ?

or the year before that ?

or the year before that ?

or the year before that ?

or the year before that ?

or the year before that ?

or the year before that ?

or the year before that ?

sounds like  (( playing like a raven  ))   is not such a good thing to do ...!!!!!!!!!

Since: Dec 21, 2006
Posted on: January 23, 2012 5:48 am

Why didn't Ravens use last timeout for Cundiff?

Krusty, you are a DELUSIONAL BOY. Are you what people called special in school. Do you really think the ref's have been helping the Patriots out for a decade. The refereeing was fine. Watch the tape and you will see it wasn't a touchdown. The ball was knocked out and there was no need to review the play. The interference was called before the interception. Did you ever think that was why the pass was picked off in the first place. Get over it. Your Ravens had a good year, but unfortunately they are aged out and will not be in the mix for the foreseeable future. The first thing they have to do is play like a team from the 21st century. This isn't the 50's. Even those nitwits in Pitt started playing modern football and they are in every other superbowl. God is real and he loves the Patriots.

Since: Oct 27, 2010
Posted on: January 23, 2012 1:33 am

Why didn't Ravens use last timeout for Cundiff?

Can't believe some of the comments on here re the Dallas 'icing' and this one.

There is a huge differance to that one and the Cundiff one, the Dallas guy was all lined up ready to kick it, Cundiff was rushing like a mad man to get in place and kicked it with seconds left, it would not have been 'icing' him to call a time out , give the players a breather, time to collect thereselves and properly prepare for the biggest kick of his career.

Since: Oct 18, 2009
Posted on: January 23, 2012 1:03 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: January 23, 2012 12:44 am

Why didn't Ravens use last timeout for Cundiff?

Why didnt he ice his own kicker?  Is this a serious article.  There were numerous reasons why the Ravens lost this game but not icing there own kicker is not one of them

Since: Apr 30, 2011
Posted on: January 23, 2012 12:30 am

Why didn't Ravens use last timeout for Cundiff?

Why didn't they run for a first down and call a time out for three more chances?

Since: Mar 9, 2008
Posted on: January 22, 2012 11:23 pm

Why didn't Ravens use last timeout for Cundiff?

Didn't the Cowboys coach Garrett get blasted for calling a timeout before a final kick earlier this year?  Feely's right, the kicker has to call a timeout if he needs some extra time, not the coach.  

Since: Feb 10, 2008
Posted on: January 22, 2012 11:23 pm

Why didn't Ravens use last timeout for Cundiff?

anyone watching the game could see Condiff was rushed that combined with a bad snap made a missed field goal

Since: Feb 3, 2009
Posted on: January 22, 2012 10:19 pm

Why didn't Ravens use last timeout for Cundiff?

I put this one on the coach, not the kicker. As i watched the play unfold my first thought was they rushed the kick. With only 11 seconds left in the game the purpose of the kick was important, to tie the game.  There was no reason to hold on to a time out with so little time left in the game. You call time out make sure everything is set then kick the ball. If the kicker misses then, hes dog meat. If he hits, you go to overtime.  I thought Flacco played a very good game and could have easily won it if his receivers would have held on to some balls, especially Evans in the end zone.  It will be interesting to see if the next few days how many times Cundiff gets thrown under the bus for this disapointing loss.

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