There are no happy campers in Denver’s locker room these days, especially after the Broncos fell to 2-6 after Sunday’s 15-13 loss to the Colts. It was the third time this season the Broncos lost a game they were leading in the final two minutes after giving up a late field goal. After the game, quarterback Joe Flacco unleashed some frustration at the team’s conservative play-calling while trying to run down the clock and ice the game.
“Well, c’mon, I just look at it like we’re now a 2-6 football team, and we’re like afraid to go for it in a two-minute drill, you know?” said Flacco. “Who cares if you give the ball back with a minute, 40 seconds left? They’ve obviously got the field goal anyway.”
Nursing a 13-12 lead, the Broncos recovered a fumble at the Indianapolis 48-yard line with 7:38 left in the game, only to punt the ball back to the Colts after three plays. The Broncos got the ball back with 3:37 left. After getting one first down to get the ball across midfield, Denver once again punted the ball back to the Colts after running the ball on third-and-five coming out of the two-minute warning. Flacco was upset with such conservative play-calling, saying he would have preferred the chance to throw the ball to wide receiver Courtland Sutton in those kinds of situations.
“It’s third-and-5 at the end of a game, who cares if they have a timeout at the end or not?” mused Flacco after the game. “Getting in field goal range isn’t that tough, you’re just putting your defense in these bad situations and I just felt like what do we have to lose? Why can’t we be aggressive in some of these situations? That’s kind of how I feel a lot about the game today.”
Running Denver’s offense is offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello, who is in his first season of calling plays. Through eight games, the Broncos rank 28th in the NFL offensively with just over 15 points per game. With a late-season playoff push unlikely, the Broncos might consider a change at quarterback with rookie Drew Lock now eligible to return from IR.
Flacco’s comments may have been spot-on, but the Denver coaching staff can’t be pleased with their quarterback criticizing them so publicly. Between that and the team’s record, the Broncos may be more inclined to sit Flacco and give Lock a chance to play the second half of the season.