I know the picture I chose may be misleading, but when I say the Baltimore Ravens made a grave mistake in the kicking game, I’m not talking about the surprise onsides kick early in the fourth quarter that went awry. I’m talking about the kickoff after the Ravens tied up yesterday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-16 with two minutes left in the game.
I can forgive the onsides kick attempt — that at least had a point. The execution of it sucked though as Matt Elam was offsides, none of the Steelers players were fooled by it, and Ravens kicker Justin Tucker was destroyed on that play. It was kind of comparable to last week’s fourth-and-goal call against the Green Bay Packers. The concept was good, but the results weren’t due to bad execution.
The final kickoff by Tucker was unforgivable in my opinion. Instead of just booting the ball out of the end zone and having the Steelers start at their own 20, Tucker did an awful squib kick (I hate squib kicks by the way) that bounced right in Emmaunel Sanders‘ hands. The Ravens’ special teams couldn’t contain Sanders as he ran it back to the Steelers’ 37.
Originally, Sanders ran it back all the way for a touchdown, but replay showed his foot went out of bounds at the 37. The funny thing is that the Ravens probably would have been better off if he scored there, because at least they would have gotten the ball back against a tired defense.
What’s more mind-boggling than anything though is that the Ravens were able to kickoff from the 40 instead of the 35 because of an offside call on the tying extra point. How did Tucker not kick that ball out of the end zone? Did he just make a bad kick? Was it the coaches’ decision to do that stupid squib?
The Steelers won the game on a 42-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham as time expired. The Steelers might have gotten into good field goal position anyway, but that extra 17 yards certainly made it a lot easier for them. There’s no excuse at all for not kicking that ball out of the end zone. None.
Read more from Dan Abeshouse here