To many fans, it seems that Washington Redskins’ placekicker Billy Cundiff is the hero of the Redskins’ 24-22 Week Four victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Cundiff’s game winning 41 yard field goal gave Washington a hard fought road victory. Cundiff saved the day, right?
Wrong. Fact is, earlier in the contest, Cundiff missed two field goals from less than 50 yards. The misses were not pivotal at the time, as the Redskins were comfortably ahead during both field goal tries. But they were relatively easy kicks to make, and those misses exacerbate the early season issues of a shaky Washington special teams unit. Astute fans also remember that the Redskins have had two punts blocked this season, with both directly leading to touchdowns for the opposing teams.
These are the type of mistakes that costs teams games. The fact that it had to come down to Cundiff kicking a game winning field goal against a Tampa Bay team that is not among the upper echelon of NFL teams is concerning. Yes, it’s only Week Four, and I’m not the type of person to bring gloom and doom to any situation, especially since Washington was victorious.
But the fact is that the Redskins cannot expect these types of performances all season. Later in the season, Washington will face the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, two veteran teams with a recent tradition of football excellence. It’s difficult enough to beat those teams when your offense, defense and special teams units are exhibiting proper execution. Miss three field goals against those teams, and you are almost guaranteed to lose both games.
Oh, by the way, the Redskins still have to play six division games against the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, and Philadelphia Eagles. Many of the Redskins’ division games in 2012 could be closely contested games. Missing field goals during these games could be the difference between earning an NFC playoff spot and watching the playoffs at home.
But it’s too early to consider those possibilities now. Cundiff can breathe a sigh of relief for now. But a few more games like this one, and he might be out of a job sooner than anyone could imagine.