One day after Matt Katula had errant snaps on two missed field-goal attempts, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said there will be no change in the team's long snapper for Sunday's AFC wild-card playoff game in New England.
"No, I think Matt Katula is a quality long snapper in this league," Harbaugh said during his weekly news conference. "We see him practice every single day. We see it in pre-game, we see it in most of the snaps during the game. He'd be the first to tell you he's got to be better in that situation - and he does have to be better in that situation - but he's a really good snapper and he's going to be fine."
Kicker Billy Cundiff was wide to the right on a 37-yard field-goal try at the end of the half in Oakland on Sunday after Katula's snap sailed low and to the right for holder Sam Koch. In the fourth quarter, Katula's snap was low and slightly to the right when Cundiff came up short on a 51-yard attempt. The Ravens led 21-13 at the time, and TV cameras caught Harbaugh saying "Bad snap" after the play.
Asked whether the snap was the reason for the missed 51-yarder, Harbaugh said: "It didn't help. For that kind of field goal in those kinds of conditions, we felt like 51 was our yardage. That was the yardage in pre-game. We nailed those very well in pre-game, and that was an opportunity to really put the game away."
Katula has been inconsistent this season, his fifth with the Ravens. He had a bad snap with deposed kicker Steve Hauschka, another one previously with Cundiff, and sent a high snap to Koch, the punter. His right hand was stepped on in one game, and he missed practice before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 16 with tendinitis in his right elbow. But he was not on the injury report last week.
"He's had a little bit of tendinitis in [the elbow], and I think that's affected him a little bit," Harbaugh said. "But by the same token, he snaps well enough in practice; he's really spot-on. He snaps great in pregame. So it's just kind of putting it together in that situation that counts so much, and he's capable of doing that. We've got to move on. He's a good snapper, and I think he's confident and [that] he can get the job done."
Flacco misfired, too
Quarterback Joe Flacco
had season lows in passing yardage (102) and completions (11) in the 21-13 win over the Raiders, but the Ravens more than made up the shortfall with 240 rushing yards. Harbaugh suggested Monday that Flacco might have played a bit conservatively on some throws and acknowledged that he missed others.
"We missed a couple of things that we probably could have hit that would have made a huge difference," Harbaugh said.
"If we'd have found a couple of open guys behind some of those blitzes, like we're capable of doing, that would have made a big difference. … [The Raiders] do a great job in the back end, and there were times when they covered us. So it wasn't as good of a passing performance as we'd like to see, but like we always say, every game stands on its own. Every week is a different drama, and I thought our offense did what they had to do to win that game."
Is Brady fair game? Haloti Ngata
and Terrell Suggs
were flagged for unnecessary roughness for hitting Patriots quarterback Tom Brady
in the Oct. 4 game in Foxborough, Mass. Both were debatable penalties, although the NFL supported the calls. Brady is well known for encouraging flags from officials, but Harbaugh says he's not concerned about that.
"I can't imagine that the officials are going to take into account any of that," he said. "That's not what they do. They're going to call the game consistently. They're going to call what they see, and our guys are going to play within the rules. We're going to work on that all week, just like we have been."
Asked whether Ngata and Suggs would be penalized if they hit Brady the same way this week, Harbaugh said: "I don't know. I think that's going to be in the eye of the beholder, but I think we've learned better [about] how to hit the quarterback. We understand better. Our guys do a better job, technique-wise, of attempting to sack the quarterback, than we did earlier in the year."