Koch Audibles For Fake Punt

Amidst a chaotic scene, Sam Koch’s decision was ‘huge’ and led to his first career pass.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Sunday, November 7th, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Categories: 2010 Season, Ryan Mink, Week 9 vs Dolphins

When the Miami Dolphins didn’t have somebody on the field lined up opposite gunner/cornerback Cary Williams, there was a lot of screaming from the Ravens sideline.

Williams was closest, so he heard Ravens Special Teams Coach Jerry Rosburg yelling, “He’s uncovered! He’s uncovered! Throw it, throw it, throw it!’”

Safety Haruki Nakamura heard all the commotion and, according to Williams and teammate Prescott Burgess, signaled for a timeout.

Fake Punt
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But in the midst of bedlam, all that mattered was that veteran punter Sam Koch got his signals straight.

The Ravens’ punter heard his name and quickly realized what was happening. His decision to change the play and make the first pass of his football career (high school, college or professional) was “huge,” according to Head Coach John Harbaugh.

“I looked over there once, but didn’t want to too much,” Koch said.

“There’s a bunch of guys yelling my name. I had to make sure that he didn’t snap it. As a punter, I have to walk out there and see what kind of matchups we have. It’s a play where I have the option to punt it or throw it, and I chose to throw it.”

Koch hit Williams with a 13-yard completion, giving the Ravens a first down near the end of the third quarter. The Ravens didn’t end up getting points, as Billy Cundiff missed a 37-yard field goal attempt, but it was a momentum-builder.

“It felt like the ball took forever to get there,” Williams said. “I was just like, ‘Lord, please don’t let this return guy come like a bullet and take my legs out.’”

While it may seem easy to hit a wide-open pass, there are a lot of elements that go into changing a play like that.

First of all, on a windy day, it’s not easy to communicate. Also, the Ravens haven’t practiced that type of play since about Week 2.

“That’s a hard thing to get to sometimes because you don’t want to mess it up,” Harbaugh said. “Sometimes you can just punt the ball and be better off. It’s a hard play to execute. So for our guys to have the confidence to check to that play, for them to pull it off, make a throw, make a catch … it was a really good decision.”

Miami Head Coach Tony Sparano said the Dolphins only had 10 players on the field. He said the Dolphins were trying to call a timeout but didn’t get it.

It was a wacky day for Koch overall. Because of the fake, he didn’t attempt a single punt on the day. Koch, who is regarded as an excellent holder, also uncharacteristically fumbled a snap in the second quarter.

“The wind knocked it down a little bit,” Koch said. “It hit my palm and I just dropped it. I’ve had some of those in practice on windy days. Sometimes stuff just happens.”

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