Think the Ravens are going to give up on Steve Hauschka after missing one kick?
Not going to happen.
Head coach John Harbaugh repeated his support for Hauschka on Monday, about 24 hours after the young kicker's last-minute 44-yard field goal sailed past the left goal post in the Ravens' 33-31 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
"The thing you've got to remember about that is that we knew from Day One that our young kicker was going to miss a kick," Harbaugh said during his weekly press conference. "And we also were pretty sure it was going to come in a hugely critical moment. There's no guarantee that any kicker is going to make any kick in any situation. Now the deal is, and it's painful, because if he had knocked that thing right through the uprights, we'd all be going. 'We got our kicker!' Well, we believe we got our kicker.
"We've seen enough of him to believe that he's going to be our kicker. In the end, do we know? Only he can handle that."
Hauschka was noticeably rattled after the game, but he did step to the microphone and discuss the miss, his second of the season.
"It's obviously one I want back, but I just have to bounce back and use it to make me better," Hauschka said. "I feel like I let my teammates down."
Still, there was more to the kick. Yes, Hauschka did pull it left. But there was also the issue of a bad snap that could have distracted Hauschka.
"It's impossible to say how much the snap played into it," Harbaugh said. "The snap was not perfect. The kick was not perfect. So, it didn't go through. He pulled it."
When Hauschka's kick didn't split the uprights, many Ravens followers questioned whether the team should have re-signed longtime kicker Matt Stover, who recently signed a free agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts to fill in for an injured Adam Vinatieri.
Stover boasts a long and storied career as the third-most accurate kicker in NFL history. Hauschka could take a lesson from Stover's tenure, however.
In Stover's first three years – 1991-94 – he only hit 11-of-22 kicks from 40-49 yards. That was when the Ravens franchise was in Cleveland.
Even when he moved to Baltimore, Stover wasn't much better from beyond 40 yards. As a Raven, he missed 39 boots from 40-49 yards.
Stover returned from those misses with an unwavering demeanor, one that is completely focused on the kick at hand – or foot, for that matter.
"All the kickers that have made it over the years, the long-term guys, have fought through this," Harbaugh said. "I'm pretty sure if you look back at all these really good kickers early in their career, I bet they missed some of these kicks early on if you look at their career.
"[Stover] responded through that and became the kicker that he was. There are other kickers that didn't respond, and now they're not kicking anymore. They found their life's work a lot earlier than the guys who made it. So, there's only one way to find out. Now, we have seen [Hauschka] handle pressure situations in practice. He's made the kicks he's been asked to make up until this point. He made them in the preseason. We put him under as much pressure as we can, and we'll see what happens. I think he's got the mettle for it. I'm a little biased, because he's our kicker. And we're going to give him a chance."