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Deja Vu Heartbreak for the Bolts
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Twice Younghoe Koo lined up to kick a 44-yard field goal with the game clock approaching zero.
The first was last week against the Broncos with a chance to force overtime. It was blocked.
Today, it was for the win with the Chargers trailing the Dolphins 19-17. This time it went wide right.
Just like that, the Bolts experienced the worst kind of déjà vu with another gut punch to lose a game at the buzzer.
While Head Coach Anthony Lynn said Koo’s attempt against Denver looked like it would split the uprights if not for the Broncos getting a hand on it, he put the onus on the rookie kicker against the Dolphins as he missed a pair of attempts.
“He didn’t kick well today,” Lynn said. “He missed two field goals. Last week it wasn’t his issue. I thought he kicked fine last week even though he got a kick blocked. But he didn’t kick well today, so we’ll see. We’ll see how he responds.”
Koo knows he must put the past two weeks behind him in a hurry, while acknowledging it’s a kick he has to make in the future.
“Perfect snap, perfect hold,” he said. “I just pushed it right. The next kick’s got to go down the middle…I’ve just got to move on. It sucks for sure, but I can’t do anything about it now. I’ve just go to move on to next week.”
Still, Koo wasn’t the sole reason the Chargers fell to the Dolphins.
The Bolts made a litany of fourth-quarter mistakes that proved costly in the end. There was a holding penalty on Chris Hairston, that turned a third-down conversion into a 3rd-and-13 they couldn’t convert. On the next play, Drew Kaser’s punt was blocked. Instead of pinning the visitors deep, the ball trickled a measly 23-yards.
On the next possession, Jay Cutler rolled right on 3rd-and-6, finding DeVante Parker for a 31-yard gain. Instead of punting from midfield, they ended up kicking a field goal to make it a one-point game.
Special teams proved costly on the ensuing kickoff when Darius Philon was called for holding, setting the offense up at their own six yard line. After picking up just one first down, Kaser unleashed a 40-yard punt that Jakeem Grant brought back 14 yards to midfield. Needing only a handful of yards to get into Cody Parkey’s range, the Dolphins did just that as the kicker connected from 54-yards for what proved to be the game-winning field goal.
While the fourth quarter doomed the Bolts in the end, Melvin Gordon stressed a need to put the game away earlier when given the chance.
“We just have to find a way to make it happen,” he said. “We just have to make more plays. It shouldn’t come down to this. It shouldn’t come to a situation where we are saying, ‘We should be up.’ We had some possessions where we got down there and we should have scored on offense. That would have put us in a better situation. Everyone has to be accountable and get attacking. That’s just what we have to do.” Read