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Old 01-15-2013, 11:58 AM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Mid-Atlantic
Posts: 19,734
Default Single worst play of the season

Only read this if you're a glutton for punishment like I seem to be...

Denver led 35-28 with 41 seconds remaining in regulation. Baltimore had third-and-3 on its own 30, out of timeouts. The Ravens needed 70 yards in 41 seconds without a timeout, against the league's second-ranked defense, on the road. The sole, single, only way the Broncos could blow the game would be to let a receiver get behind their secondary. And nobody's that stupid, right?

Denver rushed three, meaning eight to cover five receivers. Flacco was flushed from the pocket and stepped up as if to run. As backup receiver Jacoby Jones ran a fly -- exactly the pattern a defense should expect in this situation! -- the cornerback on his side, Tony Carter, just let him run by, covering no one. Carter was busy making the high school mistake of looking into the backfield trying to guess the play, rather than guarding his man. The high safety on that side, Rahim Moore, just let Jones run by. Moore was busy making the high school mistake of looking into the backfield trying to guess the play, rather than guarding his man.

From the standpoint of the Denver secondary, if Flacco ran for a first down, if he threw for 20 yards, so what? All the Denver secondary had to worry about was the long bomb. And the Denver secondary didn't cover the long bomb.

This was one of the worst downs any team has ever staged at any level of the sport. The Denver secondary badly botched the play; defensive coordinator Jack del Rio badly botched the play. Del Rio could have called timeout to make sure his charges understood to keep everything in front of them.

Just to prove it was no fluke, head coach John Fox botched what happened next. The Broncos took over on their 20 with 31 seconds remaining, holding two timeouts, needing a field goal to win. Peyton Manning is among the best quick-strike quarterbacks ever. Fox had him kneel. Fox made this mistake twice! At the end of the first half, Denver took possession on its 20 with 35 seconds remaining, holding all three timeouts. Fox had the Broncos jog to the locker room.

It will be a long, long time until an NFL team botches a good situation as badly as the Broncos botched theirs. Unless this happens again next weekend.

I know, I know. We needed a thread about this as much as we need Orton and Tebow back as our QBs. But I'm making a desperate attempt at trying to find humor in this. Desperate times, desperate measures.
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