Koo’s OT FG lifts Falcons to improbable 37-34 win over Panthers, lead NFC South

Atlanta Falcons place kicker Younghoe Koo is congratulated by teammates after kicking a field...
Atlanta Falcons place kicker Younghoe Koo is congratulated by teammates after kicking a field goal overtime of an NFL football game to defeat the Carolina Panthers 37-34 Sunday,(Associated Press)
Published: Oct. 30, 2022 at 5:45 PM EDT
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ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta’s Younghoe Koo booted a 41-yard field goal in overtime after the Carolina Panthers missed a pair of kicks that could’ve won it, giving the Falcons an improbable 37-34 victory Sunday that gave them a temporary lead in the NFC South division.

The teams combined for three touchdowns in the final 3:06 of regulation before a silly penalty by the Panthers’ D.J. Moore opened the door for the Falcons (4-4) to pull it out.

With the Falcons up 34-28, Carolina (2-6) appeared to have won the game in stunning fashion when Moore hauled in a 62-yard touchdown heave from P.J. Walker with 12 seconds remaining.

But Moore ripped off his helmet during a raucous celebration in the end zone, resulting in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. That pushed back the extra point to a 48-yard attempt, and Eddy Piñeiro pulled it left of the upright.

Carolina (2-6) had another chance to win in OT after C.J. Henderson returned an interception 54 yards to the Falcons 20. But Piñeiro botched another kick, yanking a wobbler left of the upright again from 32 yards out — shorter than a regular extra point.

The Panthers wouldn’t get another shot. Marcus Mariota, who threw three touchdown passes, ripped off a 30-yard run for the Falcons that set up Koo’s game-winner with 1:55 left in the extra period.

The Panthers had a chance to create a four-team logjam in the NFC South. Instead, the Falcons have the lead all to themselves with a .500 record.