DAVIE—The field goal attempt that would’ve spoiled the Dolphins’ season opener wasn’t just a choke by Chargers kicker Younghoe Koo.
Koo pushed a centered, 44-yard field goal wide right with five seconds left in Miami’s 19-17 win Sunday, and it appears Dolphins 5-foot-11 cornerback Bobby McCain was part of his problem. McCain came through untouched from Koo’s left, and special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi believes he could’ve blocked it had Koo’s kick gone straight.
“I felt like I was really close,” McCain said after today’s practice. “I got a great jump off the edge. He moved it right, but if he kicked it straight-on, I may have blocked it.
“There was a lot of pressure in his face. Our field goal block team does a great job getting around the kicker and making him nervous, rattling him, so as a unit we did a great job.”
Here’s are some still frames of McCain coming off the edge just as Koo struck the ball:
At a minimum, Rizzi is certain McCain’s play pressured Koo. He thus dismissed the idea that the Dolphins got lucky by winning on a missed field goal that many NFL kickers consider routine.
McCain was in that advantageous position in large part because safety Walt Aikens, a known special teams dynamo, took tight end Hunter Henry out of the play.
“I’m the edge pressure, so the safety on my left, Walt Aikens, did a great job bludgeoning the tight end,” McCain said. “I just came off the edge. It really wasn’t even my effort. My effort to get to the ball was great, but everyone else doing their job made it clean.”
Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook