This wasn't some meaningless regular season game. Neither Tim Tebow or Curtis Painter were the quarterback. They weren't going up against the 85' Chicago Bears defense. No my friends...this was Peyton Manning, one of the greatest QB's to ever play the game. This was a playoff game for the rights to go to the AFC Championship. They were going up against the 17th ranked defense in the NFL and had one of the best kickers in the league on the sideline ready to go. So why in the world did the Denver Broncos take a knee and opt for overtime against the Baltimore Ravens in Saturdays divisional round match up?
Listen folks, 31 seconds is a lifetime in the NFL when you have two timeouts and one of the greatest quarterbacks in the game under center. They only needed to go 40 yards to at least attempt a 57 yard field goal. Who knows...maybe they get 50 or 60 yards. Maybe Peyton throws a screen pass to the running back and he breaks a few tackles. Perhaps Demaryius Thomas or Eric Decker could have hauled in a 20 yard pass from the great Peyton Manning. The Broncos could have realistically gotten off at least 4 plays. The point is that you have to go out there and give it a try. Like coach Herman Edwards said "you play to win the game." The Broncos played not to lose it.
Coach John Fox and President John Elway agreed that taking a knee and taking there chances in overtime was the best way to go and would do it again. I would expect them to say that. The main reason they gave for not taking a shot with 31 seconds to go in regulation is because of the shock value the Broncos suffered after Joe Flacco connected with Jacoby Jones for the game tying touchdown. Elway and Fox eluded to the team needing to regroup after the defense completely blew coverage and allowed Jones to get behind the secondary. They also considered the weather and wind blowing from the end zone of destination. I can certainly understand all that but I believe all the other factors outweigh those negatives.
It makes me wonder if Peyton had any input on this. It's hard to imagine that Manning would agree to take a knee. I mean these are the moments that quarterbacks dream off. You would think John Fox would ask Peyton his opinion. Would Manning tell his coach that the best thing for the team would be to sit on the ball and go into overtime? There didn't seem to be much conversation on the sideline during this decision. Not from what I saw at least. Is it possible that Peyton may have doubted himself in that situation and opted for overtime as well? He really wasn't having a great game and had already been picked off early in the 1st quarter. But still, Manning wants the ball every time because he knows he can get the job done...right!?
It just seems to me that coach Fox would give Peyton the option. I mean, Manning ran and coached the offense all season long anyway so it is plausible that Fox would at the very least allow Manning to make a case about going for it. For the record, it was reported that Peyton Manning called an audible to a run play on 3rd & 7 when a passing play was originally called in an attempt to close out the game late in the 4th quarter. I'm just saying...
Hindsight is 20/20 but I for one could not believe the Broncos didn't at least try to get into field goal range. Even if Manning were to throw an interception deep in Ravens territory, there wasn't much time on the clock anyway for Baltimore to get much done. And hey, maybe the Broncos get lucky with a pass interference call or blown coverage by the defense like the Broncos did to put themselves in that situation. Look guys, this is the playoffs. It's win or go home! If you tell me that I have Peyton Manning with 31 seconds on the clock, needing about 45 yards with 2 timeouts and a kicker with incredible range...well I'm telling you that there's a great chance that they'll score.