The Denver Broncos had it easy on Saturday. All they had to do was beat the aging Baltimore Ravens at home. Films showed them that Joe Flacco, Baltimore’s inconsistent quarterback was only good at one throw, the long ball. And they let him throw that long ball.
Throughout the game the Bronco’s offense was good, but not good enough. Their lead was the result of two Baltimore mistakes on special teams, a runback of a punt, and a kickoff return, both for touchdowns.
In the fourth quarter, Denver’s quarterback, Peyton Manning, threw a touchdown to Thomas. Score 35-28.
During the Ravens ensuing drive, they gave the ball back to Denver with 3:12 remaining. Baltimore used up all of its timeouts, and the Broncos ran two running plays that gained little. With 3rd down, and 7 yards to go, head coach John Fox called for another running play. It failed. He has a Hall of Fame quarterback, and would not allow him to make the decision to complete a pass, and end the game. This may be the most ignorant decision by a coach I have witnessed in the 50 plus years I have watched professional football.
The Ravens got the ball back with 1:09 left in the game. On third down Flacco heaved the ball downfield. The inept secondary of the Broncos allowed Jacoby Jones to get behind them and scored a tying touchdown with 31 seconds left in regulation. Flacco throws up a prayer, and thanks to horrible play by the Denver safety, they were headed to overtime.
In overtime the worst officials in professional sports made a very bad call. They ruled a catch made by Anqouan Boldin good, when it was obviously not in control, and aided by the ground. They finally got a call right when Brandon Stokely caught a ball, controlled it all the way to the ground.
Denver has to kick the ball. After a penalty, Baltimore is inside the five yard line with 3rd and 15 to go. Denver’s secondary allows a first down pass. The Raven’s fail to score. The Broncos’s have the ball back, but Manning makes a rookie mistake by throwing a ball back across his body, and is intercepted. Baltimore is near field goal range. In the second overtime, the Ravens kick a 47 yard field goal to win the game.
It was simple. If the Broncos won, they had home field advantage in the championship game next Sunday, and were a 60-40 favorite to go to the
Super Bowl. This game was lost by John Fox, defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, and Peyton Manning.
The Ravens back into a championship game with Houston or New England hosting next Sunday.
Being beaten is one thing, but to lose the game by your own mistakes is something else, and is embarrassing. No excuses, Denver, man up and take the blame where it lies.
By James Turnage