For football fans across the nation, Sam Koch might be the best punter they've never heard of.
Koch's been a solid punter throughout his seven-year career with the Ravens. He's just not gotten recognized much for it. Koch missed the Pro Bowl once more in 2012 despite having a career-high average of 48.1 yards per punt.
Punters have gotten better in the NFL in recent years. In fact, the top punter (average-wise) is Thomas Morstead of New Orleans with an amazing average of 50.5 yards per kick. That's far above where the numbers used to be before punters seemed to get bigger and stronger.
Koch's average of 48.1 yards per kick ranks him sixth in the NFL in terms of gross average. He's also fourth in the AFC, but that still didn't make the Pro Bowl. Dustin Colquitt of Kansas City made it this season. He's farther down the list in terms of average, but his 42 kicks inside the 20 is by far the best in the AFC.
But too many people look at awards like this to judge a player's success. Koch's been a consistent punter throughout his NFL time, and this proved to be clearly one of his best years.
He made a tackle on a return and ran for a 7-yard touchdown on a fake kick. Those are small things but each helped in the game it happened in.
Plus, Koch's ability to make punts that opponents had a hard time returning gave the Ravens' defense a boost, something they needed in an injury-filled season.
"Whether it means punting it high or punting it wide, he does it," said assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg when talking to the media last week. "He has had a great year, and I think the numbers tell that picture as well.”