Broncos coach John Fox says quarterback Peyton Manning does not deserve the blame for Saturday’s loss to the Ravens. The Broncos’ secondary, however, is another story.
Fox acknowledged at his season-ending press conference today that it took a major screw-up by both the coaching staff and the secondary to allow Ravens receiver Jacoby Jones to get open for a 70-yard touchdown with 31 seconds to play.
“I think if you gave a coach and players that opportunity to win a divisional playoff game, 10 out of 10 times they would take it,” Fox said of being ahead 35-28 with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter. “I wish we would have done a better job of coaching it and executing it than what happened.”
But even after giving up that touchdown, the Broncos had a chance to win the game. Unfortunately, the Broncos’ offense managed just 53 yards on 14 plays after the Ravens’ game-tying touchdown, and on the last of those 14 plays, Manning threw an interception that set up the Ravens’ game-winning field goal. Fox, however, says the responsibility for the loss does not fall on Manning.
“In my opinion Peyton played well enough for us to win, we just came up short,” Fox said.
It’s emerging as one of the themes of Manning’s career that his greatness in the regular season is almost always followed by a postseason in which his team comes up short.