the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, October 1, 2012

NFL Week Four: A Tale of Two Kickers - Connor Barth & Billy Cundiff

From a kicking perspective, Tampa Bay kicker Connor Barth had a great day yesterday. But in the end, his team lost. Meanwhile, Washington kicker Billy Cundiff had a pretty lousy day. But in the end he salvaged the day and his team won, 24-22. 

Extending his streak of consecutive successful field goals to 25, Connor Barth hit from 50, 57 and 47 yards. The latter came with 1:42 left in the game and gave the Bucs a 22-21 lead.
"It's nice to have coach's confidence like that. He put me out there from 57 yards, that's awesome. But it's not about me – it's about the team.''
While Barth was making three kicks, Cundiff was missing three - wide right from 41 yards, short from 57, and wide right again from 31 yards. That of course only added fuel for fans and media that still continually bring up last year's AFC Championship Game miss. After Barth had given Tampa the lead inside two minutes, the Redskins drove into field goal range, setting up a 41 yard attempt for Cundiff with three seconds remaining. Head coach Mike Shanahan said of the moment:
"I was just hoping he could keep his focus after he missed the last one. I told him it was going to come down to the game-winner, and it did. He did a great job of concentrating and obviously, he made it."
Connor Barth watched Cundiff make the kick.
"That's what an NFL kicker is supposed to do, make field goals in the clutch. I'm happy for him as a fellow kicker."
For Billy Cundiff it was big... really big.
"It was big, it was really big. As you look around, it’s very disappointing to know that in the end, you look at the scoreboard, and if we’re down by one, and I missed kicks, I could’ve made the difference. That’s a really tough pill to swallow because these guys work really hard. I get very few chances, but I’ve got to make sure that if it comes down to the very end like it did, I’ve got to capitalize on it....

Everybody was looking at me, and maybe they were lying to themselves, but at least they did a good job outwardly of saying, ‘We trust you. We know you’re going to make this one.’ I knew for me, if I could just get that chance, no matter how bad I kicked earlier in the game, I would make it."

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