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"I can't explain how valuable he is": Younghoe Koo helps lift Falcons over Panthers in overtime win

Koo kicked 100 percent in both field goals and extra points in Sunday's victory

ATLANTA – It was three minutes and 28 seconds left to play in overtime with the game tied at 34. Quarterback Marcus Mariota lined up in shotgun, caught the ball and found an open lane, exploding for 30 yards up the left side of the field to reach Carolina's 24-yard line.

Running back Tyler Allgeier would gain two total yards on the next two plays making it third down and nine with two minutes left.


Instead of using one more down to run the ball, Arthur Smith sent in the field goal unit to end the game. As intense as this battle was, Younghoe Koo remained poised as a blaring Mercedes-Benz Stadium surrounded him.

From 41 yards out, Koo sealed the win for the Falcons helping to lift the team to first place in the NFC South.

"We got all the faith in the world in Younghoe, that's why I called it on third down," Smith said in a post-game press conference. "If something happens, get back up and we'll kick it again. Just happy for these guys and this team."

It was a down to the wire, back-and-forth game that was decided by field goals.

Panthers' kicker Eddy Piñeiro missed two game-winning field goals that would provide Atlanta chance-after-chance to win the game, which led to Koo sealing the victory.

"I caught myself saying to myself 'you never know'," Koo said after the game. "At the end of the day you got to be ready. There's no excuse to be like 'oh, I thought it was over, so I wasn't prepared'. Nobody cares, you got to just stay ready. It's not over until the whistles are blown so just stay ready, locked in and be ready to go."

Koo was efficient through all four quarters on Sunday, going 3-for-3 on field goals, and 4-for-4 on extra points. This marks the fourth game-winning field goal of his career and the first one of this season.

In Koo's calm yet cool demeanor, as described by teammates, the pressure of knowing he was the deciding factor of this matchup never fazed him.

"I try to stay detached from the emotional part of the game," he said. "No matter what happens, I got to get ready to go. I just try to get locked in and try to stick to my process and thought process."

Every player and coach on the Falcons sideline all had solid belief in Koo making the game winning field goal on Sunday and that proved true in a roller coaster of a win.

"I can't explain how valuable he is, not only to this team but really to football right?" Mariota added. "I think he's got such a cool demeanor; he goes about his business the right way. He's always working hard so it's no surprise to me when things get down to the wire, that he makes these kicks."

Get an inside look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers during Week 8.


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