The Baltimore Ravens advanced to the AFC championship after defeating the Denver Broncos in double overtime. It was a weird game full of turnovers, punt return touchdowns, kick return touchdowns, interception touchdowns and numerous penalties. The Ravens scored a 70 yard touchdown to tie the game with 31 seconds remaining. Thus leaving some hope for the Broncos. However Mile High stadium erupted in boos at the end of regulation.
Peyton Manning and the offense would take field with 2 timeouts, 31 seconds left , the ball at the 20 yard line and only needing a field goal to win. Surely John Fox would instruct Peyton Manning to throw a hail mary, right? No. Instead the Broncos kneed on the ball allowing time to run out. At that moment every Raven fan breathed a sigh of relief and every Bronco fan showed their displeasure. How ironic.
Do the Broncos not realize they have a hall of fame quarterback? Do the Broncos not realize they have a four time MVP? Do the Broncos not realize they have Peyton Manning? With two timeouts left and and over 30 seconds remaining, a field goal is not out of reach by any stretch of the imagination. Even if a Manning hail mary is intercepted it poses little to no threat. A Raven interception would occur about 80 yards away from the Broncos end-zone with little or no time left. Again, there’s not much risk in a last second hail mary.
In order to get into field goal range the Broncos would have to drive about 40 yards to the Ravens 30 yard line. That would have set up a potential 47 yard game winner for kicker Matt Prater. Prater is not the best kicker in the NFL, but he is a good deep ball kicker. Is a 40 yard drive out of Manning’s ability? Is a 47 yard field goal suddenly impossible? Hail Mary plays may be rarely successful in the NFL, but the Ravens had just converted one themselves moments prior. The team signed Manning for a reason, for situations like this.
By not going for the win and playing for overtime, the Broncos allowed the Ravens to end the game in overtime. A foolish move by Coach Fox who played more “not to lose” than”to win.” Terrible decision. And no Manning isn’t without blame either. Manning needs to step up as a leader and say “no coach.” Manning needs to want to end the game in regulation as opposed to going to overtime. In the end the Ravens just wanted it more.