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Younghoe Koo Reacts to Blocked Field Goal
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The ball felt good coming off Younghoe Koo’s foot.
He’d just drilled a 44-yard field goal to tie the game, only to learn the Denver Broncos called a timeout just before the snap.
Unfortunately, as he was forced to attempt it for a second time, Denver’s Shelby Harris got a hand on the ball as it fluttered short of the crossbar.
Instead of overtime, it was a heartbreaking 24-21 loss after the Bolts mounted a furious fourth quarter comeback.
All eyes were on the rookie kicker after the game to get Koo’s reaction from believing he’d just booted the tying field goal to having it blocked following the timeout.
“It’s unfortunate,” he said. “I wish it went in, but it is what it is. We’ve got to learn from it, and move on to the next one.
“As soon as I kicked (the first one) I heard the whistle, so I knew I had to get my mind right to go back and kick another field goal… Today my whole mentality was to take advantage of this opportunity, because it’s a great opportunity for me.”
So what happened on the fateful kick?
“They got some pressure over the left guard, and they kicked the second one,” Head Coach Anthony Lynn simply said. “They did a hell of a job in their rush.”
"Too bad, because I thought Koo drilled the first one," Philip Rivers added. "They called a timeout and I think he drilled the second one too. Looks like to me it was right down the middle. I think if we had gotten to OT we could’ve finished it off—but we didn’t get that chance.”
Still, the team refused to put the onus of the blocked kick. To a man, they explained how miscues and mistakes throughout the entire game contributed to the loss. Just ask tackle Joe Barksdale, who lamented the offense’s ability to convert in short-yardage situations.
“We had a few miscues today in short-yardage,” he said. “Obviously, it wasn’t up to our standard. I take full responsibility for that fourth down (stop). It was a miscommunication. We’ll look at it and learn.”
Meanwhile, Casey Hayward cited too many plays given up by the defense on the money down. He also mentioned a potential pick-six he dropped in the first quarter. Instead of seven points for the Bolts, the Broncos marched down the field for a touchdown of their own.
“I had a play I could have made,” Hayward said. “We need to get better at the little things. We’ll watch the film and correct them. But we all (left plays) on the field today.”
Still, the Bolts showed tremendous heart, and almost pulled off a comeback for the ages. Down by 17 in the fourth quarter, they had a chance to tie it up at the buzzer only to have the attempt denied.
For Koo, the rookie can’t wait to be put in that situation again, craving the opportunity to come through with the game on the line.
“Of course (I want it). As a kicker, you dream about those moments. But at the same time, you have to come through.” Read