Monday, November 29, 2004

Shanny can kiss my fanny

So Jack is happy this morning that the Broncos choked away an 11-point 4th quarter lead to lose to the hated (or in Jack's case, loved) Raiders. For my part, I'm just nauseous. Once again, Mike Shanahan can be blamed directly for this loss. For those of you who weren't watching, after the Broncos went up 24-13 early in the fourth quarter, they let the Raiders storm down the field not once, but twice, with big pass plays to set up touchdowns. With just under 2 minutes left, the Raiders had a 25-24 lead.

Our heroes did not give up, however, they came back themselves, setting up a 1st and 10 at the Oakland 26 with 38 seconds and 1 timeout left. At that point, Mike Shanahan went into brain freeze. I realize that the Broncos have a great field goal kicker in Jason Elam. I know that he has had great success kicking in all kinds of weather in Denver. And 44 yards is definitely within his range. But why, why, WHY must Denver take its foot off the accelerator at that point? Shanny had Ruben Droughns run into the line for 2 yards, and then Jake threw 2 incompletions to set up a 42 yard field goal attempt that was blocked. The Raiders won 25-24.

If we were moving down the field so well, why not just keep pushing with pass plays? Why run the ball, taking time off the clock and wasting a down? Keep your foot on the other guy's neck and don't let them catch their breath. We should have been playing for a touchdown when instead we were playing for a FG. That's a joke (and a bad one, I might add). It's especially appalling when you realize last night was a horrible night for kickers. There was a snowstorm, earlier in the game 2 kicks had been blocked and even the field goal that Elam made was a knuckleball that barely got over the crossbar. Why take a chance on a 42-yarder? Go for the gold and settle if you must, but don't get conservative in that situation. The same thing happened in Jacksonville earlier in the year, when Quentin Griffin coughed up the ball after Denver was in FG range, when in fact they should have been throwing it to try to score a touchdown.

The result is an embarrassing loss to a bottom-feeding team that basically killed Denver's playoff chances unless they are able to run the table, starting with this week in San Diego against what clearly looks to be a better team. It's time for Shanahan to take the head coaching job at the U of Florida and allow Denver to get someone who knows what the heck he's doing on that sideline. How about Jimmy Johnson?


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