Joe Flacco is clearly frustrated. The former Super Bowl MVP voiced his agitation after Sunday’s 15-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, criticizing the Broncos coaching staff for not being more aggressive on the final drive of the game.
“I just look at it like, we’re now a 2-6 football team and we’re like afraid to go for it in a two-minute drill,” Flacco said to reporters after the game. “Like, who cares if you give the ball back to the guys with 1:40 left? They obviously got the field goal anyway. Once again, we’re a 2-6 football team and it just feels like we’re kind of afraid to lose the game.”
With 1:40 remaining in the 4th quarter and the Broncos leading 13-12, Flacco feels head coach Vic Fangio should have opted to go for it on 4th and 5 from the Colts 43-yard-line. A first down would have ended the game for Denver.
“It’s 3rd-and-5 at the end of the game, who cares if they have a timeout there at the end or not? Getting in field goal range isn’t that tough. You’re just putting your defense in these bad situations and I feel like, ‘what do we have to lose, why can’t we be aggressive in some of these situations.’ That’s kind of how I feel about a lot of the game today,” Flacco added.
Broncos Blow the Lead
Denver held a 6-3 lead over the Colts at halftime and extended that lead early in the third quarter after a four-yard touchdown run by Royce Freeman. From there it was all Indy, who closed the game on a 12-0 run.
The Broncos had a chance to ice the game late and were driving across midfield in the final minutes when Flacco thought the team got too conservative.
On a third-down play at the 45-yard-line, Denver opted to run the ball in order to force the Colts to burn their final timeout instead of letting Flacco throw for the winning first down. Phillip Lindsay ran for no gain on the play and the Broncos opted to punt on fourth down. The Colts took advantage of the passive play calling, marching the ball down the field and setting up Adam Vinatieri for the game-winning 51-yard field goal.
Why Flacco Was Upset
After Denver scored the go-ahead touchdown on the opening drive of the second half, they were forced to punt on their final five possessions of the game. The conservative approach got under the skin of the usually even-keeled Flacco, who finished the game with just 174 yards passing and no touchdowns.
As a team, the Broncos are ranked 26th in the NFL in passing offense, averaging just 207.9 yards per game through the air. Rich Scangarello is in his first year as the team’s offensive coordinator. Flacco and Scangarello have already drawn the ire of Broncos head coach Vic Fangio.
“It was all levels of our passing game [that] were problems,” Fangio said two weeks ago after a 30-6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. “Protection sometimes, receivers not getting open sometimes, it’s certainly a problem we have to get rectified moving forward.”
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