Bennie Fowler, Gary Kubiak cost Broncos against Chiefs
The Denver Broncos lost a game to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night that they were leading 24-16 with three minutes left. A few poor decisions played big roles in the defeat.
Let’s start with Bennie Fowler, who broke free for a 76-yard touchdown catch with 3:00 left that made it 23-16. Rather than go in for the touchdown, Fowler could (and arguably should) have gone down just shy of the goal line. Had he done that, the Broncos could have kneeled out the clock. The Chiefs didn’t have any timeouts left and the only thing that would have stopped the clock is the two-minute warning. Denver would have had three downs after the two-minute warning to end the game. Had he not scored, the Chiefs would not have had an opportunity to tie the game and send it to overtime.
Beyond just Fowler, though, head coach Gary Kubiak made a few blunders.
Once Fowler had scored the TD, Kubiak could have elected to go for two. The Broncos were up 23-16. Had they made the two-point conversion, they would have been up by two scores. That would have essentially put the game away. It’s something Pete Carroll recognized during the Seahawks-Patriots game two weeks ago.
The other bad decision Kubiak made — and this one was pretty terrible — was to attempt a 62-yard field goal in overtime. Kubiak had kicker Brandon McManus try the kick with the game tied at 27 and 1:08 left. It was an extremely low percentage kick and would have tied for the third-longest field goal in history. Because of how long of a kick they tried, once Denver missed, the Chiefs got the ball at Denver’s 48. All Kansas City needed at that point was about 10 yards to have a reasonable chance at a field goal to win it.
With the loss, the Broncos are now 7-4 and wouldn’t even be in the playoffs if the season ended now. Let that thought marinate as you consider the difference between second and third place in the division was Fowler scoring a touchdown instead of stopping short of the goal line. Or if Kubiak had made the safe play for a tie, Denver would have been in a better spot in the AFC standings.