Ravens fall in AFC title game as Evans, Cundiff fail to deliver

January 22, 2012 | Drew Forrester


As far as losses go, that was about as shocking of an end as I’ve ever seen.

Lee Evans had the Ravens in Indianapolis, but couldn’t hold on to the ball with 19 seconds left.

Billy Cundiff could have sent the game to overtime with a 32-yard field goal with 11 seconds remaining, but he pulled it wide left.  It wasn’t quite the equivalent of Scott Hoch’s 28-inch missed putt that cost him the 1989 Masters, but it was close.  Field goal kickers make 32 yarders in their sleep.

But Cundiff didn’t make it.

And the Ravens 2011 season came to a stunning conclusion on a cold Sunday in Foxborough where Joe Flacco outplayed the great Tom Brady in his own building.

“None of it matters,” Flacco said to me at his locker afterwards.  “How close we came, how well we played, how hard we worked today.  None of it matters.  We lost.  That’s all we can say.”

Cundiff took his miscue like a pro, meeting with the media afterwards and simply saying, “I didn’t convert, it’s that simple.”

Evans, meanwhile, sat in front of his locker for 45 minutes after the game, staring straight ahead and no doubt thinking about the ball he dropped that could have eliminated the Patriots and extended Baltimore’s season by one more game.

“No one will feels worse than anyone else in here,” Matt Birk told me.  “We’re all crushed.  We’re a team.  We lost.  Doesn’t matter how it happened.  We’re all in this together.”

John Harbaugh was complimentary of the Patriots in his post-game remarks, but the Ravens coach knows the truth.  New England was fortunate to escape with a win on Sunday…he just can’t say that to the media gathered in the interview room.

But I can say it, just like I said last Sunday that the Ravens were lucky to beat the Texans.

The Patriots pulled a rabbit out of their hat.

Thanks to a drop in the end zone and a missed 32-yard field goal, the Ravens are going home and New England plays one more game.

I’ve seen a lot of crazy things in sports, but Sunday, watching it unfold live in front of me on the field below — it was stunning, to say the least.


14 Comments For This Post

  1. tsnamm Says:

    What an inexplicable ending…I can’t imagine a worse way for it to have happened…this one leaves as bad a taste as any ever. To have it right in your hands like that and have it melt away in such a ridiculous fashion…you couldn’t have written such a thing,they would tell you it was too outrageous. Stunning is an understatement. Just awful…

  2. G.Q. Says:

    It was if it were 1957 and every Ravens fans had a WIN ticket on GALLANT MAN in the Kentucky Derby, leading to the wire, but HOF jockey Willie Shoemaker misjudged the finish line, standing up in the irons too soon and get beat by a nose by Iron Lige.

    Horse Racing may be my game, but no Ravens loss has cut so deep. Baltimore… be proud of your team… they showed their CLASS in defeat while the Patriots were CLASS-less in victory, never mentioning the effort of their opponent. Maybe the Pats team bus should back into Lukoil Stadium in 2 weeks?

  3. unitastoberry Says:

    You can say all the right things and make all the sportsman like comments but I’m going to tell it like it is. Every year since Joe Flacco arrived here some speedy over paid WR blows it in the playoffs and we all go home. This year its Lee Evans, last year Bouldin dropped one, year before it was Mason. At least they didnt throw to Dickson who has about 6 dropped balls in the last 2 games. Like Earl Weaver used to say its all about fundamentals. Watching Evans drop a ball then Cundiff missing a chip shot was like Frankenstein meeting Bill Buckner. Cundiffs been hurt for weeks and you can clearly see his leg strength is missing. Why is he even playing when we had Shane Graham on speed dial? Joe played good but the monkey never comes off until he puts on the ring. When will the league realize that WRs are only good if they can catch. Like Ray Berry used to say, “If I touch it I have to catch it thats what they pay me for”. This loss is the worst because we were the better team today except for 2 plays. Put both those guys on a bus and get um the hell out of here.

  4. Dan Says:

    Nevermore , cried The Raven- The Curse of the Dilfer is still in place. Not to worry . The Curse of the Bambino only lasted 80 years .

  5. Mike Says:

    Bunch of sad ass crybabies! You lost because you weren’t good enough to win end of story, maybe next year

  6. PghSteve Says:

    You blame it on 2 plays, but had the Ravens won, the Pats could have said the same thing. The long pass to Gronkowski that Brady overthrew, etc.

    Ravens had a good (not great) season that ended in heartbreaking fashion. How many fans in Jacksonville or Minnesota would have been glad to have the season the Ravens had?

    I have watched the Steelers play in 15 of these games, and 7 times they broke my heart. But I am still glad they were in a situation to win or lose the AFC Championship game.

    This Steelers fan looks forward to starting it up again in September.

  7. Art Lawrence Says:

    another Epic loss on national tv. that highlight of the missed fg may get as much play as Scott Norwood. Maybe we should have drafted Tebow since we don’t seem to have a higher power on our side. feels like letdown after 97 wire to wire for the beloved O’s.

  8. The "Armchair QB" Says:

    It’s really tough when the better team….loses! Nothing wrong with Flacco that better receivers and play design/calling won’t cure! He most certainly outplayed Brady today and, as he has done repeatedly in his young career, threw a “clutch” TD pass in “crunch time” only to see it dropped for a change! This team has shown a propensity in recent years to beat itself and if there’s anything harder to watch than winning “ugly”, it’s losing…..”ugly”! We’ve probably seen the end of Cameron, which won’t cause me to shed any tears and we need to get rid of the “not-so-special” special team’s coach, too. On the personnel side, Flacco needs a “playmaker” at receiver and offensive line help. The defense will need some shoring up as well. So, another “winning” season that ends on a sour note. I think I’d settle for less wins in the regular season and better results in the post season, but wishing won’t make it so…….

  9. Ken Says:

    I’m still trying to figure out what happened with the FG. Why was Cundiff running onto the field with just 13 seconds left on the play clock?

  10. Mike Says:

    I didn’t think Evans dropped it.. NE db made a great play..No?

  11. charlie Says:

    most painful loss in years. at which point does the big question become “why can’t harbaugh win the big one?’ not saying that’s fair, but i expect folks will start asking.

  12. Jim Says:

    Cam Cameron has to go. They had 2nd and 1 and two timeouts. Needed to get first down, call time out, and would have had three more downs to work with. Earlier drive on 2nd and 2, they decided to throw the ball which was incomplete and then run a draw on 3rd down.

  13. Robert Says:

    Like most around these parts, I’m stunned & disheartened. On the bright side, we made it to the final four and overall, I’m proud of the effort the team made for us this season. I too wonder if the protege, Harbaugh, will suffer like the mentor, Reid, has in Philly by never being able to win the big one? Cheers.

  14. Joe Says:

    Geez, and I believed Nestor’s prediction?!

Leave a Reply