Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo converted three successful consecutive onside kicks in the 26-18 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Younghoe (pronounced Young-Way) Koo of the Atlanta Falcons is the new onside kick wizard of the NFL. Coming into Week 13, only 3/37 onside attempts throughout the league have been recovered by the kicking teams. Koo defied all odds and might have possibly dispelled the myth that successful onside kicks have all but disappeared or become obsolete.
History was most likely made as we witnessed something that will most likely never occur again in a single game.
The chances of seeing one successful onside kick are close to slim and none in the league today. The success rate of 8 percent overall has been very low. Koo was able to do in one night what the entire league was not able to accomplish in the first 12 weeks of the season.
All three kicks were perfectly placed and took bounces in the Atlanta Falcons favor. The first kick was nullified due to Russell Gage being called offsides. This should have counted as replay concluded it was the incorrect call. The Falcons were then forced to re-kick five yards back.
The second kick did not touch a Saints player. It bounced ten yards when Foye Oluokun snagged out of the air after the last bounce for a successful recovery.
The third kick again was placed perfectly by Koo. This time, Oluokun was involved again. This time the ball bounced his way and he was able to knock it off of the knee of Michael Thomas. Kemal Ishmael was there to pounce on if for the recovery.
On both kicks, the Falcons were able to move the ball into Saints territory but were only able to manage three total points.
The onside kick is still one of the most exciting plays in football. It requires a lot of skill to both place the ball and kicks it perfectly. It also requires some luck on your side. Younghoe Koo’s success gave the Falcons a chance to march down the field and tie the game in the waning minutes.
Koo left four points on the field with a missed field goal and a missed extra point. Both kicks were shanked left. Although he struggled in pregame warmups, there is no excuse for this for a guy who’s basically trying out for next season’s starting kicking job. Elements do not come into play when you’re playing indoors.
Koo was successful on 10 of 11 field goals coming into the game. He kicked 2 of 3 successfully in the game. It was his first missed extra point of his four-game Falcons career so far. Overall, he is now 12 of 14 on field-goal attempts. He has yet to attempt a 50-yard kick, which is where his predecessor Matt Bryant thrived
It is a very small sample size, but Koo has been very serviceable in terms of accuracy (85.7%) so far. He has a strong leg, is still only 25 years old and is able to handle kickoff duties as well. This could bode well for his chances to stick around next season. It is yet to be seen as to how consistent he will be from long range.
All of Koo’s kicks in this game did not have the perfect end over end trajectory of the ball. Instead, they seemed to have a low knuckleball trajectory. This will be an area of concern if it continues consistently over the final four games of the season for the Falcons.
He put the Atlanta Falcons front office on notice and let them know that whoever is running the show next season, he at least deserves the opportunity to battle for the job in training camp and preseason.