Fox stands by decision, Elway supports his coach

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While Fox conceded there were coaching mistakes in the game _ most notably not having safety Rahim Moore coached up well enough to properly defend the pass that tied the game _ he stood by his two most important strategic decisions.

A few minutes before kneeling on the ball, Denver was up by seven and trying to grind out the clock. Despite being down to their third-string running back, 188-pound Ronnie Hillman, the Broncos called three straight running plays, including a run off right guard on third-and-7 that went for no gain. That ran the clock down to 1:15 and made Baltimore burn all its timeouts.

But three plays after a punt, Joe Flacco threw the improbable 70-yard touchdown over Rahim Moore and into the hands of Jacoby Jones that tied the game.

“I’ve never believed in, `It’s one guy, one play,’” Fox said when asked about Moore’s role in the loss. “It obviously was a big play.”

Fox said he played the percentages on all the calls _ nothing more, nothing less.

According to his calculations:

_There’s a 38 to 40 percent chance of converting a third-and-7 into a first down.

_By punting and giving Baltimore the ball on its 23-yard line, trailing by a touchdown with 1:09 left and no timeouts, the Broncos had a 97 percent chance of winning.

_That percentage spiked to 99.9 percent when the Ravens had the ball on the 30 with 41 seconds left.

Turned out, the Broncos are a “.1 percenter.”

“I mean this in all sincerity, if I felt like we were going to give up a 70-yard touchdown pass with 31 seconds to go, we might have re-evaluated that,” Fox said. “But that’s not what the percentages said.”

Notes: Elway said the Broncos intend to pick up the option on Manning for the next two years, which would pay him $40 million for two seasons. Manning still has to pass a physical later this winter to get the money. Elway also said the Broncos would like to bring free agent LT Ryan Clady back. … By losing, the Broncos coaching staff gets assigned to coach the AFC in the Pro Bowl, the week before the Super Bowl. Manning said he will play in the game, as well.

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