Crazy like a fox?
Truth be told, John Fox skated by this season.
He didn't have to make any tough decisions, like last year with starting Tim Tebow over Kyle Orton, and he looked smart each and every time his team won on their 11-game streak.
But when it all came down to crucial in-game coaching decisions in the postseason, Fox fumbled.
With the Broncos leading 35-28, needing one measly first down to salt away their first playoff win and make the AFC Championship game, Fox wasn't opportunistic, he was conservative.
On third and seven, with the clock stopped by the two minute warning, Fox instructed his offense to run the ball. Ronnie Hillman, who filled in valiantly for an injured Knowshon Moreno in the second half, was stone-walled by the Ravens defensive line and the Broncos had to punt the ball away with 1:09 left on the clock.
If Peyton Manning drops back and completes one seven-yard pass, Denver kneels their way to victory.
Instead, the Ravens took over, and even when the Broncos defense took the field, they came out in a very conservative coverage. Denver had three safeties in the game, with an over-under coverage on outside receivers, yet Jacoby Jones still caught the 71-yard touchdown to tie the game at 35.
Rahim Moore, a second-year safety that has performed well all season long, took a terrible angle on the ball, got excited and jumped too early, helplessly falling backwards as the ball floated over his head and into the waiting arms of Jones.
Following the extra point and kickoff, the Broncos had the ball on their own 20, with 31 seconds remaining and two timeouts in the bag.
They'd certainly try to move into field goal range, right?
For the third time during the most critical two minutes of the game, Fox concluded the conservative approach was best and for the third time, he was wrong.
Manning took over the lead for most fourth quarter and overtime comebacks this season, giving him a chance to lead a quick game-winning drive would have been the best thing to do, even if the veteran quarterback did end up ending the game with an interception in the second overtime period.
Fox's conservative coaching did anything but instill confidence in his team, and it cost them multiple chances of winning the game in regulation.
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