When the Ravens cut incumbent Billy Cundiff in favor of undrafted rookie Justin Tucker, the Washington Redskins swooped in and signed Cundiff. But after five games during which Cundiff missed five of 12 field-goal attempts, Washington went with an unknown in Kai Forbath.
That decision is paying huge dividends for the Redskins, who edged the Ravens, 31-28, in overtime Sunday on the strength of three Forbath field goals, including the 34-yard game winner.
Forbath tried to downplay his heroics, chalking up his performance as a simple matter of doing his job.
"I'm here to put some points on the board for our team to help us win," he said. "When they call my number, I just go out there and try to perform as best I could."
Forbath is 14-for-14 on field goals this season, including 10-for-10 from 40 yards or longer. He is two field goals shy of tying Garrett Hartley's NFL record for consecutive field goals to begin a career.
Forbath said the key to his success has been his preparation during the week.
"It's every day at practice, trying to simulate games as much as possible," Forbath said after admitting that he last missed a field goal in practice last week. "And then when you go out there, you have to treat it like practice and just know that you can make that kick 1,000 times and just do it over again the same way."
The biggest beneficiary of Forbath's consistency is Washington, which took a chance at signing Forbath over a proven commodity in Cundiff.
"I'm glad he's on our football team, that's for sure," coach Mike Shanahan said. "He's made everything, and we gave him a game ball in front of the team, and it doesn't surprise me how he handles himself."
Forbath said he was touched to receive the game ball in front of his teammates.
"That was a huge win for us, and it wasn't just my kicking that did it," he said. "[Rookie quarterback] Kirk [Cousins] came in there and got it done and he looked like he had been playing all year, doing that. And we had the huge punt return that set it up. Without that, maybe I wouldn't have gotten it. But the whole team just played awesome and never stopped and never quit. So the ball should go to all of them as well."