NFL

Third-and-7, not knee, 'gnaws at' Broncos' Fox

05/26 2:25 PM

Four months after the Broncos' playoff loss to the Ravens, coach John Fox said he'd still have Peyton Manning take a knee and go to overtime. He has second-guessed his decision on the previous offensive possession, however.

Four months after the Denver Broncos' playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens, coach John Fox said he'd still have Peyton Manning take a knee and go to overtime rather than try for the win with 31 seconds left. He has second-guessed a pivotal decision he made on Denver's previous offensive possession, however.

Fox told The Denver Post that he's debated the Broncos' final play before overtime with his staff and his wife during the offseason and he "would do the same thing 10 times out of 10," similar to statements he made in the team's news conference in January two days after the 38-35 overtime loss.

Fox said then that he stood by a decision to call a running play on third-and-7 at the Broncos' 47 and then punt the ball away with 1:15 remaining. He has a different opinion now, however.

"That's the one that gnaws at me. We get the first down there, and Baltimore can't stop the clock again, and the game's over," Fox told the newspaper.

Despite being down to their third-string running back, 188-pound Ronnie Hillman, the Broncos called three straight running plays, including a run off right guard on third-and-7 that went for no gain. That ran the clock down to 1:15 and made Baltimore burn all its timeouts.

But three plays after a punt, Joe Flacco threw an improbable 70-yard touchdown over Rahim Moore and into the hands of Jacoby Jones that tied the game.

Asked what call he would have selected instead of Hillman's run off right guard, Fox told the newspaper: "I don't know, but something that would pick up a first down."

As for having Manning kneel down, however, Fox said the Broncos needed to regroup after the Ravens' improbable touchdown.

"When they scored the touchdown, you could hear crickets in the stadium," he told the newspaper. "You think the crowd was shocked? It was a lot harder on the players and the coaches. It was a 12-round fight. We had been knocked down by a hard punch. The best thing we could do was get up, regroup and get to the next round."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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