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'It was just my miss': HC Vic Fangio details end-of-game decisions during loss to Titans

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — A day after the Broncos fell 16-14 to the Titans, Head Coach Vic Fangio said he missed calling a timeout late in the game that would've helped Denver preserve time for a final drive.

With one minute and 33 seconds to play and the Titans inside of field-goal range, Derrick Henry broke off a 13-yard carrier to the Broncos' 16-yard line. Henry was tackled with 1:27 to play, and the clock ticked down to 49 seconds before Tennessee ran another play.

Fangio said Monday night that he didn't want to help prolong Tennessee's drive or help the Titans avoid making a struggling Stephen Gostkowski attempt a field goal. On Tuesday, though, Fangio clarified that he should've called a timeout under the circumstances.

"It was totally my fault there," Fangio said Tuesday. "I had too much thought into what I was going to call next on defense, and I missed it."

The Broncos got the ball back with 17 seconds to play but couldn't advance the ball far enough to attempt a field goal or have a realistic shot at the end zone.

Fangio said that when the team is on defense, the Broncos' offensive coaches help monitor when to use timeouts. The defensive coaches assist Fangio in those decisions when the Broncos are on offense.

"All the coaches chip in on that," Fangio said. "The offensive coaches when we're on defense and vice versa. It's easier, obviously, when we're on offense, because I'm not calling the plays. It was just my miss on that one — nobody else's."

The Broncos ran a final play from their own 43-yard line with two seconds to play, but Drew Lock was pressured immediately and the pass fell incomplete. From that spot on the field, the Broncos would've needed to make about a 74- or 75-yard field gaol.

"I was doing the math, but 75 seemed to be too far," Fangio said. "And [Special Teams Coordinator] Tom [McMahon] agreed that he didn't think he could make it. That was the choice there."

The NFL record is a 64-yard field goal.


In his first game back from an ACL injury, outside linebacker Bradley Chubb played 73 percent of the Broncos' defensive snaps. He was on the field for 59 plays, including 14 of the Titans' 16 third-down plays.

Chubb recorded two quarterback hits as he saw his first action since the injury.

"He did fine," Fangio said. "I was encouraged by his play. I think he was too. He's not where he was, but he's getting there. I think he'll get there quickly. I think last night's game for him was important."


Third-round pick Michael Ojemudia served as the Broncos' No. 3 cornerback in the team's nickel defense, and he was pressed into an even bigger role after A.J. Bouye exited with a shoulder injury in the first half.

Ojemudia recorded a third-down pass breakup in the first quarter and then snagged an interception in the third quarter that was negated by a penalty.

"I thought Michael did fine last night," Fangio said. "He played a lot of plays. He was a starter in our five [and] six defensive back packages, and I thought he did good for a guy that's a rookie and missed a good bit of time during training camp. It's a testament to the amount of work he has put in, both when he was healthy and when he was injured. He stayed on top of things. The secondary coaches have done a good job with him and getting him ready even through that."

Ojemudia played 64 snaps, which equated to 79 percent of the team's defensive snaps.


A pair of fourth-down plays played a major role in the Broncos' 16-14 loss.

With just over three minutes to play in the first half, Drew Lock rolled right and shoveled a pass to Jake Butt. The Broncos' tight end was stopped short of the goal line, and the Broncos missed an opportunity to go up 14-7 before the half.

"It just did get disrupted," Fangio said. "They were packed in there pretty good and it didn't come off the way we hoped that it would, but it was a good play on their part."

Later in the game, the Titans faced fourth-and-goal from the Broncos' 1-yard line and ran a play-action fake to a wide open Jonnu Smith.

Justin Simmons suggested after the game that the Broncos hadn't seen the look before that fourth-down play, but Fangio said the route combination was the new element, not the formation.

"I wouldn't say there was confusion," Fangio said. "They ran a different route that we hadn't seen and we just didn't pick it up right. That develops after the ball is snapped. You're always going to see some unscouted looks and unscouted plays in each and every game, especially the opener. We've got to be able to react to them."

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