Athletes are often quick to point out that they win as a team and they lose as a team. That moniker, or some variation of it, is usually uttered throughout locker rooms following a game in which one player is left as the goat after seemingly blowing the game for his team.
Those types of “condolences” were used in a pair of dejected locker rooms in both Foxboro and San Francisco on Sunday, as the Ravens fell to the Patriots and the 49ers lost to the Giants in their respective conference championships.
And while teams say they win and lose as a team, there were a few instances in each game that could offer proof to the contrary.
In the AFC Championship game, Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff shanked what would have been a game-tying field goal in the game’s final minutes. The way wide left attempt obviously hurt, but two plays earlier, the Ravens could have actually won the game. Joe Flacco threw a perfect pass to Lee Evans, but the veteran wide receiver dropped the go-ahead score after Sterling Moore was able to get his hand in and break it up. Moore made a nice play, but Evans insisted after the game that he should have caught the ball.
Across the country, it was San Francisco’s Kyle Williams who took his share of criticism after a couple of forgettable special teams gaffes. Williams misplayed a punt in the fourth quarter that set up a Giants touchdown. Then, in overtime, he did the same, this time setting up a game-winning field goal for New York, dashing any hopes that Williams and the 49ers had of going to Indianapolis to take on the Patriots.
It may be true that the Ravens and 49ers lost as a team, but there’s no denying that these unfortunate mishaps didn’t help one bit.