Teams with great defenses prefer to start the game on defense, with the goal of: (1) engineering a three-and-out; (2) finagling a short field; and (3) getting on the scoreboard; and (4) repeat, repeat, repeat.
The Broncos have a great defense, which has caused them to defer possession until the second half when winning the toss. Last night, the Broncos won the toss, deferred, kicked off, and then watched the Chargers drive the ball 75 yards in 12 plays, culminating in a touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Hunter Henry.
The same thing happened five days ago, when the Broncos won the toss, deferred, kicked off, and then watched the Falcons drive 75 yards in nine plays for a touchdown.
The Broncos lost both games, and they now may lose the defer-when-winning-the-toss approach.
“That came up, but part of that is you want to control it in the second half,” interim coach Joe DeCamillis told reporters on Friday, a day after the 21-13 loss to the Chargers. “[That is] part of the reason you defer in my opinion. That’s been discussed and [coach Gary Kubiak] is an offensive guy and that was his decision. That was something that we’ve talked about quite a bit, but we’ll talk about it this week as we always do, as far as some of the game management things go. I still think with our defense, I’m going to put my money on them stopping them every time to be honest with you.”
The Broncos won the toss and deferred in one other game this year: Week Four at Tampa. The Denver defense intercepted quarterback Jameis Winston, and the Denver offense scored a touchdown on the next play.
In the three other games played this year — all Denver wins — the Broncos lost the toss, the opponent deferred, the Broncos received the opening kickoff, and the Broncos won each game.
To summarize, the Broncos are 3-0 when the receive the opening kickoff, 1-2 when they kick. Both losses came from the Broncos giving up a first-drive touchdown after kickoff off.
So maybe the Broncos should be doing more than talking about changing their approach to winning the opening toss.