As placekicker Billy Cundiff's 32-yard field goal flew wide left of the uprights, the Baltimore Ravens players all simultaneously knew that their season was a few seconds away from being over. Cundiff walked off the field with his head down as the rest of the team stood with their collective mouths open in shock as the reality of the moment set in.
Once the game was over and the players showered (or not) and dressed, a few of them were interviewed and when Cundiff stepped to the podium, he faced the inevitable questions that he knew he couldn't avoid. According to a story at BaltimoreRavens.com, Cundiff said about his miss:
"There's really no excuse for it."
However, one by one, his Ravens teammates came to his defense, sharing responsibility for the 23-20 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. Ray Lewis said:
"As a man, not one play won or lost this game."
Wide receiver Lee Evans, who seemed to catch what could have been the game-winner, only to see the ball stripped out of his arms before securing the perfect throw from Flacco, joined in taking responsibility for the loss in another story on the team's website:
"I felt like I had it but it came out....I don't even know how to really put it in words."
These two players were involved in huge plays that could easily be looked at as why the Ravens lost the game, but there were 68 other offensive plays in the game as well as 68 defensive plays, all of which played a role in the team loss.
As Ray Lewis was quoted as saying,
"We win as a team, we lose as a team."