Baltimore Ravens placekicker Billy Cundiff has not had anywhere near the season he had last year, when he connected on 26 of 29 (90%) field goals attempts and tied an NFL record with 40 touchbacks on kickoffs before they changed the starting point for the 2011 season. This year, Cundiff is 28 of 37 (75%) and while he has 44 touchbacks, he is nowhere among the league-leaders after the kickoff spot was moved up from the 30- to 35-yard line.
Billy Cundiff has been fighting an injured calf in 2011, and it has resulted in him missing the team's week 16 game as well as his accuracy on field goals and distance on kickoffs. Over his last four regular season games, Cundiff was only three of six on FG attempts and had connected on only one attempt over 40 yards since week nine.
However, a good part of Billy returned in yesterday's 20-13 victory over the Houston Texans in the Divisional Round of the 2012 NFL playoffs. Cundiff was two-of-two Sunday, with both field goals from beyond the 40-yard line (48, 44). Those six points were the difference between the Texans needing a touchdown at the end of the game in order to win or just getting into FG range for the chance at victory.
While the cold weather might have contributed to his kickoff distance, Cundiff only put one of his five kickoffs deep enough into the end zone to prevent a return, and the Ravens kickoff coverage was exposed on the game's opening play, although they did pretty well in coverage from that point on, ending with a 33-yard average return.
Going forward, Cundiff's leg will prove to be a huge benefit if he continues to improve his health and his accuracy The Ravens seem to play games that come down to one score being the difference and with the offensive juggernaut of the New England Patriots next on their schedule in the AFC Championship Game with a berth in Super Bowl 46 being on the line, the Ravens will need every point they can get, although preferably those FG's can be turned into TD's.
Either way, it's good to see Billy Cundiff returning to form. Welcome back, Billy!