Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker
With kickers, you never know how they’ll respond to the immense pressure of a potential game-winning kick.
Steve Hauschka of the Baltimore Ravens had that opportunity Sunday and failed during a 33-31 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Hauschka sailed a 44-yard attempt wide left that could have taken Minnesota (6-0) from the undefeated ranks and sent Baltimore (3-3) home happy with a bye week upcoming.
Instead, a missed kick extended the Ravens' losing streak to three games.
The Ravens nearly overcame a 13-point deficit in the final six minutes with back-to-back touchdowns. But it all went for naught as the Vikings got a late field goal within the final two minutes. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (385 yards, two touchdowns) orchestrated a solid two-minute drive to get within Hauschka’s range before the failed kicked.
Baltimore’s bye comes at a good time. The Ravens have several issues to address, such as their pass defense that allowed Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre to throw for 278 yards and three touchdowns. Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson (143 yards) also became the second straight tailback to rush for more than 100 yards against the Ravens. Prior to last week, Baltimore had a 39-game streak of keeping rushers under 100 yards.