Mike Shanahan: Billy Cundiff’s chances were better than the offense’s on fourth and 16

September 16, 2012

Washington Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said that the odds of converting a fourth-and-16 situation for a first down were so slim that he figured he might as well have place kicker Billy Cundiff attempt a 62-yard field goal that would have tied the game against the Rams with 1 minute 13 seconds left to play.

 


Billy Cundiff missed a 62-yard field goal attempt that could have tied the game with less than two minutes remaining. (Jeff Roberson/Associated Press)

The Redskins trailed the Rams 31-28 and had been backed up to the St. Louis 44-yard line thanks to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by wide receiver Josh Morgan.

But rather than try to have quarterback Robert Griffin III and the offense try to pick up the first down, Shanahan called for the field goal.

 Cundiff was well short on his attempt, which barely reached the end zone.

 After the game, Shanahan explained his decision-making process.

 “It was fourth and [16]. I thought he could make a 62-yarder…. At fourth and [16], it was not great odds…. I thought it was at least worth a shot,” Shanahan said. “He can kick it out of the end zone pretty consistently from the 35-yard line [on kickoffs]. So that means he could kick a 62-yard [field goal] if he hits it right.”

 Cundiff said after the game that he rushed his attempt and that his hips came open too soon, and as a result, he didn’t hit the ball as forcefully as he needed to.

 Cundiff said he made a 55-yard attempt with about three yards to spare in warmups, but didn’t attempt one from 60 yards or further. His career long is 56 yards. But Cundiff said  he thought he had a chance to make the field goal.

 “I have to think that way,” Cundiff said. “That’s why I’m in this business.”

 Rams coach Jeff Fisher said he was surprised the Redskins attempted a 62-yard field goal even though they were indoors without any wind.

 “It was fourth down and a bunch and I was fairly confident that we could defend the down and win the down,” Fisher said. “I was a little surprised that he elected to try to take that long field goal, yes.”

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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Mike Jones · September 16, 2012