Stover's kick blocked in Giant-sized loss

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Calamity struck the Baltimore Ravens' special teams again Sunday as veteran kicker Matt Stover's early field goal attempt was blocked by New York Giants defensive tackle Fred Robbins. It was a pivotal breakdown attributed primarily to a low trajectory and how quickly Robbins penetrated the line of scrimmage.

It was a tough blow to the Ravens' cause in the first quarter, boosting the Giants' momentum during a 30-10 victory as the block set up running back Brandon Jacobs' second touchdown run.

The swirling 17 mph winds of Giants Stadium were another factor in the ricochet that gave the Giants possession at the Ravens' 33-yard line.

"I know I hit the ball a little low because of the wind," Stover said. "You couldn't fluff it up there going that direction. I knew I had to hit the ball going that way with a lower trajectory.

"I think the guy got back in the backfield a little bit and got some pressure on the right side 'A' gap, which is between the guard and the center, right where I was kicking it. What do you do? There is no finger-pointing here. It's all about me making a field goal."

The block directly led to staking the Giants to a 13-0 lead. The consensus opinion from the Ravens was that Stover needed to elevate the kick more.

"I think it was a little bit of a push, but I think Matt would say he could have kicker it higher," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "That's what happens sometimes, especially when you're kicking into that wind. You try to drive it a little more and that's probably what happened."

Later, Stover set an NFL record with his 372nd consecutive extra point to surpass Jason Elam and Jeff Wilkins. The streak began in 1996.

Overall, though, it has been an especially difficult season for the former Pro Bowl selection. One of the most accurate kickers in league history, Stover has had some tough moments this season.

This may have been the lowest point of them all.

"Did that field goal today have a difference in the game? Yes," Stover said. "Because when you have one blocked and they return it and they score a touchdown on it, it can be a game-changer. As a player, you have to look at what you can do better and move on."

Stover has missed five field goals this year, converting 13 o f 18 kicks after booting a 38-yarder in the second quarter after Baltimore fell behind 20-0. Stover missed a 50-yard attempt last week against the Houston Texans.

"You start off a season with three misses and you work uphill at that point," Stover said. "I have done a decent job coming back. The 50-yarder last week was a tough kick. That's five misses and one of them is a block.

"What I have to do is not worry about what's in the past, but think about the Philadelphia Eagles. I've had seasons where I've had more misses than five. I don't desire to miss a field goal. I like to be perfect."

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