With a chance to tie the game and send it to over time, a field goal attempt by Los Angeles Chargers rookie Younghoe Koo was blocked by Shelby Harris in the 21-24 loss Monday to the Denver Broncos in the season opener.
The Chargers were down 17 points in the fourth quarter and rallied until they were with three points of tying the game. With 42 seconds to go, Koo drilled the ball through the uprights for a 44-yard game-tying field goal but it was called back because Broncos coach Vance Joseph called a time out 1 second before the snap in an icing attempt.
“I had two timeouts and I wasn’t going to leave them in my pockets,” Joseph said. “So just ice the kid and see how he reacted.”
In Koo’s second attempt, Harris shoved through his blockers and got a finger tip on the ball, forcing it to ricochet left to quell the Chargers’ rally.
The win wasn’t a clean one and Joseph admitted as much, but “it’s good to win,” he said.
All eyes were on Koo, who went from believing he just made a big play to having his game-tying attempt blocked.
“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,” Koo said.
While the rookie kicker wishes the ball had gone in but he does not want to dwell on it.
“It is what it is,” he said. “We’ve got to learn from in and move on to the next one. “
In a Monday Night Football game that made history — Beth Mowins became the first woman to call a nationally-televised NFL game — the Chargers were sloppy and didn’t gain control until the fourth quarter.
After an Adrian Phillips interception in Bronco’s territory, Philip Rivers connected with wide receiver Keenan Allen for a 5-yard touchdown. On the next possession, Korey Toomer forced a fumble that was recovered by Casey Howard. One play later, Rivers threw the ball to Travis Benjamin for a 38-yard touchdown. Koe would cut the Broncos lead to 24-21.
“Well, the game was in firm control for about three quarters there,” Joseph said. “But if you turn the ball over on the short side of the 50, it’s a going to be a problem with Philip Rivers. And that was the deal.”
Despite the rally, there were miscues and mistakes throughout the game that contributed to the loss.
“Obviously, it wasn’t up to our standard,” tackle Joe Barksdale said.
Next up for the Chargers is the home opener against the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins were scheduled to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday in their season opener, but that game was postponed because of Hurricane Irma, making this Sunday’s game against the Chargers their season opener.