By Tarik El-Bashir
Four days after redeeming himself in the final seconds by making the first of his four field goal attempts, Billy Cundiff said he received a number of supportive text messages from former teammates and coaches in the hours following the Redskins' 24-22 victory in Tampa.
“Everybody said the same thing: 'It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,’” Cundiff said Wednesday. “They were all proud of how things ended up.”
The biggest show of support, though, came from his own coach. On Monday, Mike Shanahan said he did not intend bring in a free agent kicker in to challenge Cundiff, who missed kicks of 41, 57 and 31, respectively, before making a 41-yarder in the final seconds to clinch a 24-22 victory over the Buccaneers.
“You have to experience failure in the league in order to know how to bounce back from it,” Cundiff said. “I kept saying, ‘Thank you God for giving me a chance to go out there and prove that the other kicks were just a fluke.’ As I told [special teams Coach] Danny [Smith], I was going to make that kick even if I had to throw it through the uprights. It was going to go in.”
After the game, Cundiff hinted that he was still searching for chemistry with long snapper Justin Snow and holder Sav Rocca. As a result, Cundiff views the next four days of practice as critical.
“I don’t think the issue really was dealing with pressure,” Cundiff said of the misses. “It’s just trying to get as consistent as possible with the current situation that we have. That’s the big thing and that’s what we’ll continue to pound home in practice – just trying to get more consistent and making sure that there’s not these lulls, like having a game where you go 4 for 4 and a game where you’re 1 for 4. We need to make sure that every time we go out there, we can be counted on.”