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Special teams coach behind epic onside kick fail vs. Cowboys is now part of Falcons' purge

Ryan Young
·Writer
·2-min read

It took a few weeks, but Ben Kotwica has finally taken the fall for the Atlanta Falcons’ horrendous onside kick blunder against the Dallas Cowboys.

The Falcons, after parting ways with coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff on Sunday night, fired the special teams coordinator on Monday.

Kotwica was in his second season with the organization, following a five-year stint with the Washington Football Team. His firing was one of several organizational moves the team made on Monday.

Kotwica fired after onside kick fail

The Falcons had a win nearly secured in Week 2 at AT&T Stadium. All they had to do was recover an onside kick attempt and then run out the clock to beat the Cowboys.

That, however, isn’t how things ended up.

Dallas, after rallying from a 20-point hole, recovered an onside kick after it dribbled past five different Falcons players — all of whom just watched the ball go by — in the final seconds. They then kicked a field goal plays later to grab the 40-39 win, marking one of the most insane endings in a regular-season game in recent history.

Though Quinn tried to defend the play later — his explanation didn’t really add up — not many people bought it. Even team owner Arthur Blank said his players “clearly” didn’t understand the rules in the situation.

“Clearly on the last play of the game yesterday our players, you know, didn’t do what they either were instructed to do and they didn’t understand it, or, it’s clear, though, they didn’t, in my view, they didn’t clearly understand what the rules were and exactly what they had to do,” Blank said last month. “I think that’s demonstrated when you watch the video of it.”

While a lot of people are to blame for that, and the rest of the Falcons’ failures, it’s easy to see why Kotwica is the latest to go down in Atlanta’s purge this week.

Falcons special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica
The Falcons fired special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica on Monday, weeks after the team's awful onside kick fail against the Cowboys. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

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