Elway backs Fox's end-game strategy

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

The Denver Broncos' decision to take a knee in a tie game at the end of regulation Saturday rather than go for a winning score against the Baltimore Ravens prompted plenty of second-guessers.
However, Broncos president John Elway -- a man who once thrived with the ball in his hands in similar situations -- agreed with coach John Fox's choice to go to overtime.
The Ravens tied the score with 31 seconds remaining when quarterback Joe Flacco hit Jacoby Jones with a 70-yard touchdown pass. Baltimore ultimately won 38-35 in double overtime.
After the kickoff following Jones' score, the Broncos, who still had two timeouts remaining, got the ball at their 20-yard line. Fox ordered quarterback Peyton Manning to kneel down rather than attempt to complete a few passes to get into field-goal range.
"To me, that was a good move to be able to regroup, get ourselves back together and start the overtime period," Elway said Monday when the team president and coach met the media for a season-ending session. "I thought we did the right thing."
Fox said he believed his team was too stunned by the Jones touchdown to be able to make a productive drive in the remaining seconds.
"It was like a prize fighter who gets a right cross on the chin at the end of a round. You're looking to get out the round. That might not be the ideal time to go for a knockout punch," Fox said. "One of the things that when you coach players and you are around them, and we had 20 games prior including preseason, you get a better feel for where they're at. A look in their eye, a feeling. It was pretty devastating."
Fox also was criticized for essentially putting the game in the hands of his defense in the final two minutes. The Broncos kept the ball on the ground on three consecutive plays, including third-and-7 from the Denver 47-yard line. After Ronnie Hillman was stopped for no gain, Denver punted, and the Ravens got the ball back needing to go 77 yards in the final 1:09 to tie the game.
Flacco and Co. got it done in three plays.
"That's a choice we made, and honestly, I'll do it again," Fox said of sticking with the running game rather than having Manning attempt a potential game-sealing pass. "That's what we do, we try to play the percentages, and I mean this in all sincerity, if I felt like we were going to give up a 70-yard touchdown pass with 41 seconds to go, I might have re-evaluated that."

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