Steven Hauschka: 1, Graham Gano: 0. That’s the score following the Raven’s preseason rout of the neighboring Redskins. The final score was 23-0 in the Ravens first shut-out in the preseason since 2004, where they routed Atlanta 24-0.
The talk is all about the Raven’s passing attack, which showed great improvement for the first time ever. Joe Flacco and John Beck threw for 103 and 105 yards respectively. Troy Smith threw for 200 yards flat and a touchdown. 15 receivers caught for 408 yards, very impressive.
But the focus wasn’t all on the receivers. A fierce competition for the kicker spot is going on between rookie Graham Gano and second year kicker Steven Hauschka.
Steven appears to have taken the lead in the race. Not only did he nail a 21 yard field goal, and a 37 yard field goal, he launched to kick-off booming into the endzone both times. Hauschka’s field goals were the first 6 points put up in the game, saving a disappointing first quarter red-zone offense, something that needs to be improved for the Ravens.
Graham Gano looked good to start, but he missed a last second 28 yard field goal. The problem was a high snap from long snapper Matt Katula. However, Gano needs to be able to adapt to that kind of situation, says head coach John Harbaugh.
“We found out we have to do better at knocking it through the uprights when we get a high snap,” he said. ‘It’s on the snapper, but it’s on the kicker to find a way to knock it through.”
Gano, was irritated at first, but says he’s moved on and learned from his mistakes.
“I have to hit that,” Gano said. “I’m disappointed with that kick, but I’m already past it. I’ll recover. I haven’t missed from 40 [yards] in since high school, though.”
Hopefully, with more game situation, things will be easier for Harbaugh, Gano and Hauschka. The Ravens only want one roster spot to be spent, so in the end, one of them won’t make the team.
Sam Snyder is a regular contributor for Sports Then and Now. You can also read his work on Bleacher Report.