ATLANTA – Michael Koenen landed in the Falcons records with his first field goal attempt of his professional career.

Make that his first official attempt.

Koenen, the Falcons’ punter and kickoff specialist, came on the field to try a 58-yard field goal with six seconds left in the first half. Immediately before the ball was snapped, however, New England linebacker Mike Vrabel called time-out and the officials granted the request – though too late to stop Koenen from attempting the kick.

“I heard the whistle right when I was kicking it,” Koenen said.

The kick was long enough but just wide right.

“I was thinking Let it be a penalty,”‘ he said of the whistle. “It ended up being the time-out.”

Koenen took advantage of the opportunity to treat his first attempt as a practice kick.

“I adjusted my line a little bit,” said the rookie from Western Washington.

Koenen’s second kick was good, cutting New England’s lead to 14-13.

The 58-yard field goal is the second-longest in Falcons history. On Sept. 24, 1995, Morten Andersen kicked a 59-yard field goal in Atlanta’s 28-27 win over San Francisco in the Georgia Dome.

“It’s exciting,” Koenen said of his unlikely place in team history. “But if we had gotten a win it would be more exciting.”

Koenen’s field goal was the longest by a Patriots’ opponent in the history of the New England franchise.

Koenen said the kick also was his longest, easily beating his longest college field goal from 54 yards.

Todd Peterson is perfect on his six field-goal attempts, including a 33-yarder Sunday, as the team’s primary placekicker, but Peterson lacks Koenen’s range.

“Todd is more accurate that I am; I’m never going to beat him out,” Koenen said. “He’s a heck of a kicker.”

Koenen averaged 45.6 yards on seven punts.

‘Dogs have day

Two former University of Georgia players – running back Patrick Pass and tight end Ben Watson – scored touchdowns for the Patriots in their return to the state.

“This was almost like a Georgia show,” Pass said.

Pass, a six-year veteran from Tucker, Ga., scored the first rushing touchdown of his career on a 6-yard run in the first quarter. It was his second career touchdown, following a touchdown reception in 2001.

Pass said he was playing in front of 30 or 40 family members.

“It’s always fun, especially in your hometown,” Pass said.

“It’s wonderful to have your mom and kids in the stands.”

Watson, a second-year pro, added the first receiving touchdown of his career in the second half.

After Corey Dillon left the field with an undisclosed injury – “What injury?” Dillon asked after the game – Pass also had runs of 15 and 12 yards in the final minutes to help set up Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning 29-yard field goal.

Pass finished with six carries for 34 yards and one reception for six yards.

Watson’s only catch was a 33-yard touchdown catch barely a minute into the third quarter.


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