'You just have to go with your gut sometimes': HC Vic Fangio details process behind two-point conversion vs. Bears

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Head Coach Vic Fangio made his decision long before the Broncos reached the end zone.

If the Broncos scored a touchdown with time running down in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the Bears, they were always going to attempt a two-point conversion for the win.

“Analytics [are] good and stats are good, but you just have to go with your gut sometimes,” Fangio said Monday. “My gut told me to go for two there.”

Fangio’s gamble paid off, as Joe Flacco found Emmanuel Sanders on a quick out-breaking route for a 14-13 lead.

Even if the play didn’t work, Fangio wanted to set the tone for how his team would approach games.

“We’re trying to win games, and if we have an opportunity to win a game with a two-point play at the end there, I’m always going to consider it,” Fangio said Sunday.

The next time the Broncos face a situation where they must decide between kicking an extra point or attempting a two-point conversion, Fangio may not make the same decision.

But in a 13-12 game against the Bears on Sunday, he had no doubt about a choice that was entirely his. Fangio indicated “very early” that they were going to go for two, and the team then picked the best possible play from their selection of two-point plays.

Against the Bears on Sunday, Fangio and his staff clearly chose the right one.

KEY OFFICIATING DECISIONS

The Bears’ game-winning drive featured several key officiating decisions during the final 31 seconds of regulation.

Outside linebacker Bradley Chubb was whistled for roughing the passer after he hit Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, and Chicago’s offense picked up 15 crucial yards in its attempt to move into field-goal range

Then, on the Bears’ final offensive snap, the officials said Chicago wide receiver Allen Robinson caught the ball and that the team was able to call a timeout before time expired. Robinson appeared to be touched down with one second remaining on the clock, and the timeout would need to be called after Robinson was downed.

“In regard to officiating, I’m just going to quote [New Orleans Saints head coach] Sean Payton], who is a much more senior head coach than Iam,” Fangio said before paraphrasing Payton’s postgame response to being asked about an officiating decision. “‘We can’t control poor officiating or awful calls.’ And we’ll just go about it that way. We still have to find a way to win the game regardless of what’s happening.”

When pressed, Fangio did expand on both calls.

He said Chubb’s roughing the passer penalty “wasn’t called as written” and that he didn’t think there was a second left on the clock when the Bears called a timeout.

“I don’t think there was,” Fangio said. “They’re assuming a lot there, and they will tell you that there has to be lag time. He went down at one [second] and … nothing in life and in the world happens simultaneously. There is lag time there, and they didn’t deem there was lag time there.”

BOLLES' TOUGH DAY

After left tackle Garett Bolles drew four holding penalties — two of which were accepted — on Sunday, Fangio said replacing Bolles for a series or two at a time is “probably not an option.”

Fangio said the Broncos’ depth would not allow the team to make the move. He also said Ja’Wuan James’ knee injury doesn’t impact the team’s decision on Bolles “right now.”

The Broncos’ head coach said after Sunday’s game that Bolles would remain the team’s left tackle. Bolles, though, will have to find a way to minimize his errors as the team moves forward with its season.

“The unusual part of those is [that] when you hear one guy got called for four holdings, your immediate thought is passing [downs],” Fangio said. “Three of the four were on running plays. He’s just got to be a little bit more technique-sound. I think he suffers from him thinking he’s in good position sometimes and dumps the guy at the end where he thinks it’s a legal block. We have to do a better job of explaining that to him. He’s got to do a better job of listening to the explaining, but I think he can.”

Fangio said the holding penalties by Bolles and Ron Leary were “drive stoppers” against the Bears.

OFFENSE EFFICIENT, BUT MUST CONVERT

Joe Flacco has thrown for 560 yards, two touchdowns and completed 69.1 percent of his passes — with just one interception — through two weeks as the Broncos’ quarterback.

But the team has scored just two touchdowns, and Fangio admitted the offense needs to muster more points to earn wins.

“That’s a pretty good defense [we] went against yesterday, and we were able to methodically move the ball at times and convert some third downs and had a pretty good mix of run and pass,” Fangio said. “I think Joe played well yesterday, overall. Now, it’s hard to say you’ve played well, but you only scored 14 points. We’re not getting the points that we need to get out of our first downs. We had, I believe, 27 first downs yesterday, and you should get more than 14 points with 27 first downs.”

CALLAHAN, DAVIS NEAR RETURN

Cornerback Bryce Callahan (foot) and linebacker Todd Davis (calf) are trending toward playing against the Packers in Week 3 after missing the first two weeks of the season, Fangio said.

Isaac Yiadom and Corey Nelson have started in place of Callahan and Davis, respectively.

Fangio also said fullback Andy Janovich (pectoral) and linebacker Joe Jones (tricep) will “hopefully” do more in practice this week.

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