CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It was a pivotal miss for Steve Hauschka, a costly miscue that prevented him from locking up the Baltimore Ravens’ kicking job after three preseason games.
In the wake of Hauschka sailing a 27-yard field goal attempt wide of the right upright Saturday night, the Ravens are going to wait until after their final preseason game before declaring a winner in their kicking competition.
Hauschka missed his first field goal of the preseason during the Ravens’ 17-13 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Saturday night.
"I was hoping he would come out and grab the job,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “Right now, I don’t think he grabbed the job. I think he kicked well. He kicked OK, but he’s better than that.
"He didn’t kick off that great, either. We thought he was on the cusp of winning it. He’s right in there. He’s got a great shot to earn the job.”
So, the Ravens are going to wait and see what happens in their preseason finale against the Atlanta Falcons before making up their minds.
“Right now, we’re not going to make a decision this week,” Harbaugh said. “We’re not ready. I thought we might have a chance to, but we don’t have to do it yet.”
Hauschka flubbed the short kick despite a good snap and hold. He simply sliced it wide right.
Hauschka’s big miss was met with frustration by Harbaugh, who brought the young kicker over to the sideline for a lengthy conversation.
“It’s one of those kicks that should have been an easy kick,” Hauschka said. “I tried to guide it in there. I didn’t get my hips into the ball. You have to make the kick for what it was. I didn’t get my hips around it.
“It’s all part of the process, trying to put the best swing on each kick that I can. Obviously, I didn’t put the best swing on one of them tonight. I have to go out there in Atlanta and show them what I can do.”
Hauschka had seemed to be on the verge of winning the kicking competition after making all three of his previous attempts during the Ravens’ first two preseason games.
Now, the Ravens will wait until after the Atlanta game to decide whether to go with Hauschka or rookie Graham Gano.
Gano has converted just 1 of 3 tries this preseason, missing his last two attempts.
“Obviously in a competition you want to make every single kick,” Hauschka said. “The reality is we’re human. A lot of good kickers have missed kicks, even short ones like that. That happens to the best ones, too."
Hauschka redeemed himself by booting a 38-yarder through the uprights in the third quarter.
It was an important kick for his confidence, which was admittedly shaken by the previous miss.
"No question, I was down for a couple of minutes,” Hauschka said. “I regained my focus and made the next kick."
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.