Move over, Billy Cundiff. You have some company in postseason kicking history, eh, misery.
Blair Walsh's missed 27-yard field goal with 22 seconds left not only stunned the Minnesota Vikings in their 10-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday's NFC wild-card game, but it brought back some painful memories to the Baltimore Ravens in near freeze-frame clarity.
The last time a kicker missed a potential winning or tying field goal from that distance in the playoffs was -- you guessed it -- Cundiff. In the 2011 AFC Championship Game, he shanked a 32-yarder with 11 seconds left in the Ravens' 23-20 loss in New England.
The two worst kicks in the playoffs over the past 15 years share some similarities:
Both were hooked wildly left. Cundiff and Walsh weren't even close on their chip shots. Each one sailed as wide left as a short kick possibly could. From the moment their kicks took flight, everyone knew the attempts were no longer sure things.
Both had excuses. Cundiff and Walsh admirably shouldered the blame, but there were other factors that ushered them in postseason infamy. A scoreboard error -- it read third down instead of fourth down -- led Cundiff to rush out onto the field and hurry his kick. On Sunday, Vikings holder Jeff Locke set the laces toward Walsh instead of away from him, which is why former NFL kicker Jay Feely put the blame more on Locke than Walsh.
Both had been statistically near perfect. Cundiff and Walsh picked really, really bad times to make a mistake on such short attempts. In his last 31 games with Baltimore, Cundiff was 29 of 30 (96.7 percent) on kicks from 35 yards and closer. That was his only miss in the playoffs for the Ravens (he had hit his previous 11 field goals), and he had been perfect in the fourth quarter all season (6-for-6 in the regular season). Likewise, Walsh was 33-for-34 (97 percent) from inside 30 yards in his career.
Now, the challenge for Walsh is to not follow Cundiff's path after a devastating miss. Cundiff has bounced around five teams in four seasons, hitting only 74.6 percent of his field goal attempts (50-of-67).
When it comes to the NFL playoffs, for every Joe Montana, David Tyree and Adam Vinatieri, there is an Earnest Byner, Scott Norwood, Cundiff and now Walsh.