No NFL had a more heartbreaking loss on Sunday than the Carolina Panthers.
One week after crushing Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home, Carolina came into Atlanta with the chance to move into first place in the NFC South. But it was the Falcons who emerged victorious in a 37-34 overtime thriller.
Panthers kicker Eddy Piñeiro missed what should have been a game-winning extra point kick moments after D.J. Moore’s game-tying Hail Mary touchdown reception. In overtime, Piñeiro missed a 33-yarder that would have clinched the game.
Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo kicked the game-winning 41-yarder in overtime to propel Atlanta to victory, moving them into sole possession of first place in the NFC South.
Before the game started, Piñeiro was seen taking selfies with his phone. And as one could guess, some fans on social media couldn’t help mock the 27-year-old kicker over this following the heartbreaking defeat.
Koo kicked a 34-yard field goal with 36 seconds left to increase Atlanta’s lead to six points. With no timeouts, the Panthers simply needed a miracle to win the game.
P.J. Walker delivered by throwing a beautiful 62-yard touchdown to Moore in double coverage. Carolina’s star wideout made a giant mistake, however, by removing his helmet immediately after scoring the touchdown.
Removing the helmet on the field is a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, so Piñeiro’s game-winning extra point attempt went from a routine 33-yarder to a 48-yarder. He missed the attempt, thus sending the game into overtime.
In overtime, Panthers cornerback C.J. Henderson intercepted Marcus Mariota and returned it 54 yards to the Atlanta 20. That left Piñeiro with another chance to play hero, but the attempt was wide left.
Atlanta’s win, coupled with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night, leaves the Falcons atop the NFC South standings. With the loss, Carolina fell to 2-6, dead-last in the division.