January 23, 2012

Baltimore and San Fran get their scapegoats

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

My uneducated guess is that late on Sunday afternoon, in the Baltimore area and in the living rooms of Ravens fans everywhere, the name Billy Cundiff was probably shortened into a very similar sounding swear.

Later in the evening, across the country, San Francisco residents and 49ers fans were probably attaching a few nasty adjectives to the name of backup return man Kyle Williams.

Those, right there were the two goats that essentially cost their teams a chance at playing in the Super Bowl.

Granted, those plays cost their teams their respective conference championships, but there is one thing that few are bringing up: Cundiff’s kick would only have taken their game to overtime. There was no guarantee that A) the Ravens would even get the ball or B) that Joe Flacco could do anything with it if he did.

On the drive that led to Cundiff’s terrible shank left, Flacco and Co. had several chances to punch it into the endzone and couldn’t do it. Including a ball caught by Lee Evans and then batted out of his hands just in time – great defensive play by the way. This game could have played out like it should have, Tom Brady could have marched down the field in overtime and scored, then who would be to blame?

At least in this scenario, the Ravens now have a scapegoat and Cowboys fans (Cundiff used to kick for Dallas) get a little I-told-you-so redemption.

Williams, on the other hand, should just be hanging his head. First, he booted a punt that was recovered by the Giants in the fourth quarter, leading to score. Then, in overtime, he fumbled a return that would lead to the game-winning field goal.

Niners fans have to playing the what-if game in their heads right now, wondering if they’d be booking a trip to Indianapolis if Ted Ginn was in the lineup instead of injured on the sidelines.

So, prepare for two weeks full of rematch and redemption talk. It’s the Patriots facing the Giants, who ruined their perfect season in the Super Bowl a mere four years ago.

This week: 0-2
The playoffs: 5-5

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