Should Bennie Fowler have gone down short of the end zone?

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As Broncos receiver Bennie Fowler was sprinting with the football on a 76-yard catch and run late in regulation on Sunday night against the Chiefs, Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy was saying that Fowler should go down.

The reason was simple: The Broncos led the Chiefs, 17-16, the Chiefs had just used their last timeout, and Fowler’s touchdown plus the one-point conversion gave Kansas City a chance to force overtime with a touchdown and a two-point conversion, which they did.

In the heat of the moment, it would have been a difficult decision for Fowler to make. He’d sprung free after the Chiefs sent the house on third and two. It was a huge and unexpected development, and the last thing Fowler was thinking about as he churned toward pay dirt was not securing the ultimate payoff for his efforts.

It’s arguably a tangible example of the importance of having an experienced quarterback on the field. An experienced quarterback with a thorough understanding of the game may have told the receiver at the start of the drive to not score if they broke free. An experienced quarterback like, say, former Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.

In fairness to the Broncos, it wasn’t as obvious as it would have been if three kneel downs would have secured victory. With roughly three minutes to play, the Broncos would have had to execute three plays, score a touchdown or a field goal, and then keep the Chiefs from marching down the field.

But if the clock had been properly milked, the Chiefs would have had perhaps 80 seconds to get in position for either a game-winning or game-tying touchdown, depending on whether Denver scored three or seven points.

Not scoring likely wasn’t an issue due in large part to the faith that the Broncos have in their defense. However, based on what everyone saw late in regulation and twice in overtime, maybe that faith was, for one night, misplaced.

18 responses to “Should Bennie Fowler have gone down short of the end zone?

  1. So the loss is Trevor Simien’s fault and if that old broken down nuke peytin had been the QB they would have won….LOL! Simien is not great but he is HOF level compared to 2015 Peyton. The broncos lost that game and won’t win the SB because, while the defense is still one of the best in the NFL, they aren’t 2015 good. Period. Alex “game manager” smith gashed them. Let that sink in for a while…..

  2. Hindsight is 20/20. I am not sure if Manning would have thought of that. Plus, getting a TD and a 2 point conversion is not a gimme in any case. With a defense and the way that Von Miller was playing, what he did would have been a “safe bet”.

  3. Well, IF the Chiefs still had Joe Montana, then the game wouldn’t have been close. Geez, they lost. You can’t wish them to win now. Get over it.

  4. I think if there was less than 2:00 on the clock, you go down, but with more than 3:00 to play, you take the points when they happen. Had he not scored, and then on the next play the snap gets fumbled and KC recovers, then what are you saying? The reason they lost that game was because of the stupid decision to attempt the field goal at the end of OT. Kubiak put a lot of faith in his defense, if it was a missed kick, a defense that hadn’t stopped the Chiefs in 25 game minutes of football? How many times did the Chiefs punt in the 4th quarter and OT? Once? Kubiak lost that game, Fowler made the right play. Assuming the Broncos could have taken 2 kneel downs and then scored a TD on 3rd down is asinine at best.

  5. I think it is a dumb comment. They have a much-vaunted defense. If you score 7, give it to the defensive team to keep the other team from doing the same. I blame the loss on Wade Phillips’ crew, not Fowler or Siemian.

  6. Of course he should have scored. There were 3 minutes left in the game, not 3 seconds. There would have been plenty of time left on the clock either way.

    Matt Stafford took his team the length of the field in 27 seconds last week. It is difficult to score in the NFL – DO SO WHENEVER YOU CAN.

  7. Field goals in OT just indicate a very strong defensive game. Hats off to both teams!

    I got called out last week after the Chiefs lost to the Bucs so:
    Where are you Atwatercrushes(some dude that retired more than 20 years ago)?

  8. Can’t fault him for scoring but you can fault him for not catching the pass on 3rd down before in OT before the long FG attempt. It was a very good ball.

  9. As an avid Chiefs fan up 8 and the way the Chiefs offense had been playing I had no thoughts of KC driving the field and converting a 2 point conversion. No one kneels with 3 minutes taking at least 4 points off the board.

    But if we’re doing “ifs”…

    If my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle.

  10. As he was running down the field, I was thinking that this was the best thing that could have happened to KC once they were going to get the first down. Of course, I figured 3 minutes would be more than enough time, but with dink and dunk offense, it barely was. Clearly going down at the 11 yard line and running 3 times would have been ideal. At least a 4 point lead with 1 minute left and no TOs. But hard to think about that when so far from the end zone.

  11. It’s not hindsight. The moment I saw him streaking down the sideline I said, “why score?” Go down at the 1. Or better, at the 15.

    It’s not about figuring it out as he’s streaking down the field. It’s about preparing your players for “what if” in practice and during the game. Kubiak fail.

  12. Woulda Coulda Shoulda….
    Welcome to 3rd place – better watch out because the Bolts are poised to put you in the cellar where you belong!

  13. There was too much time left on the clock for the Broncos to completely run out the clock. By my calculations, KC would still get the ball back with at least 40 seconds. That’s more than enough time to score a TD.

  14. I hate the D-heads as much as anyone, but all this second guessing is worthless. Chiefs lucked out but they’ll find a way to choke in the end, likable old Andy’s team always does.

    As a Pats fan, much rather face a Del Rio or Reid coached team than Kubiak in playoffs. Bronk-Hos better off without having to carry a choker like PEDon this year. So I wouldn’t write them off.

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