The Denver Broncos fended off a furious comeback Monday night. Shelby Harris blocked a 44-yard field goal attempt off the foot of Los Angeles Chargers rookie kicker Younghoe Koo to escape with a 24-21 win.
After seeing a 24-7 lead dissipate down the stretch, Vance Joseph, in his head coaching debut, called a timeout right before Koo banged home the potential game-tying kick. While the attempt to ice the kicker didn't appear to hurt the rookie's confidence, it allowed Harris to pulverize rookie guard Dan Feeney for the block.
"Well, the game was in firm control for about three quarters," Joseph said after the win, via transcripts distributed by the team. "We felt good but if you keep turning the ball over on the short side of the 50, it will be a problem with [Chargers QB Philip] Rivers. That was the deal. As far as icing the kicker, I had two timeouts. I wanted to leave with those in my pocket. Just iced the kid and see how he reacted."
Koo didn't seem rattled, but the timeout gave the Denver front time to exploit a weakness found of the first-year pro.
Joseph told NFL Network's Alex Flanagan he believed Koo has a tendency for low kicks where Harris rushed.
If true, that's good coaching from Joseph and his crew to detect a flaw on a former trick-shot artist. Koo attempted just one field goal (from 27 yards) in the preseason and three extra points.
Harris, a third-year pro who battled to make the roster after two seasons in Oakland, said his game-sealing block wasn't the first time he felt close to swatting a kick Thursday night.
"We got a good push on every field goal today. I felt like we had a chance to block everyone today," he said.
As for Koo, the rookie didn't sound phased by the block, saying he hopes to get in that situation again.
"Of course [I want it]," he said, per the Chargers' official website. "As a kicker, you dream about those moments. But at the same time, you have to come through."
With the Chargers' propensity to play close games, you can bet Koo will get plenty more chances.