Late Fourth Quarter Decision Possibly Cost Denver Broncos the Game

By Clyde A. Speller
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

After the Baltimore Ravens scored the game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter of the AFC Divisional Playoff game, the Denver Broncos opted to kneel the ball down with about 30 seconds left in regulation and took their chances in overtime. As we all know, the Broncos ended up losing in double overtime by the score of 38-35.

Overtime probably wouldn’t have been an issue had Broncos head coach John Fox decided to actually try to get the ball down field and get Denver in field goal range. Maybe it’s just me, but that would have been the logical thing to do.

I’ll give you three reasons why he should have taken a chance in the final half-minute of the fourth quarter.

First, the Broncos had two timeouts left. Having two timeouts with approximately 30 seconds left on the clock is considered an eternity when all you have to do is just get in field goal range, and not drive the entire length of the field.

Second, this game was in Denver, a place where the high altitude and thin air makes the football travel further in the passing and kicking game. Broncos kicker Matt Prater has one of the strongest legs in the NFL. Prater’s leg strength combined with the Mile High City’s thin air could have made a 50-plus-yard field goal attempt seem routine.

Finally, there was some guy by the name of Peyton Manning under center for the Broncos. Manning, a future Hall of Famer, is arguably one of the best comeback quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. In addition, Manning is the master of the no-huddle offense. Giving Manning two timeouts and 30 seconds to get the ball to at least the 35-yard line seemed doable.

I was always told that there is no point in keeping timeout at the end of a half or regulation, because they don’t carry over. Had Fox put his trust in the arm and mind of Manning (and some potential Mile High magic), Denver could possibly be one step closer to the Super Bowl.

Instead, Fox, Manning, and the rest of the Broncos will have to wait until next year.

Follow me on Twitter @ClydeASpeller

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