There’s a stew at Yahoo:Broncos go for two

Posted by Andy Durham on September 15, 2008 at 11:14 am under Professional | Comments are off for this article

from Yahoo Sports and the Yahoo Sports Minute at yahoo.com:

In one of the gutsiest calls by a coach in recent memory, Mike Shanahan passed up a game-tying extra point in favor of going for the win with a two-point conversion attempt Sunday in the Broncos game against San Diego. His gamble paid off, as Jay Cutler(Vanderbilt) found Eddie Royal(Virginia Tech) in the middle of the end zone, Denver held off a final Chargers drive and the Broncos moved to 2-0 on the season.

In our quick-to-judge sports culture, we often judge a decision only in retrospect. Therefore, Shanahan’s call was a good one because it worked. But if it had failed, then it was stupid. This doesn’t make any sense. You have to judge the call in the moment. And, in this case, even though Shanahan’s decision was unorthodox, it was tough to argue with.

Denver should have lost the game 30 seconds earlier when San Diego recovered a Jay Cutler fumble. But Ed Hochuli, thinking it was an incomplete pass, blew the play dead in a piece of gross referee negligence rarely seen outsde of a Jeff Triplette crew. (For real, Hochuli should be fined or suspended … San Diego should have won that game.) As a result, Denver had two more tries to the endzone, getting the score on fourth-and-goal from the three.

Kicking would have been the safe move, but as Denver’s defense had given up 35 points to San Diego in three quarters, it wasn’t necessarily the right one. Going for two is decisive. Kicking the extra point likely leaves the result of the game in the hands of the random probability of a coin toss. Plus, Shanahan might have been thinking he was playing with house money following the blown call by Hochuli.

The last time I can remember a team going for two and the win was in 2005 when Jon Gruden and the Bucs did it at home against the Redskins. However, Tampa only went for the W after a Redskins penalty on the extra point moved the ball to the one-yard line. And, more importantly, Mike Alstott didn’t actually get in the endzone on the conversion — but that’s a discussion for another time.


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