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Broncos' Fangio: 'It's totally my fault' for not calling timeout on Titans' final drive

Coach admitted he was focused on calling defense
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Posted at 1:01 PM, Sep 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-15 15:09:59-04

DENVER — The complaints over the Broncos' four-year playoff absence have landed on a battery of doorsteps.

Tuesday morning, Fangio woke up and pointed the finger in the mirror after evaluating Monday's demoralizing 16-14 season-opening loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Upon further review, Fangio admitted he should have called timeout after Derrick Henry's 13-yard run on the Ttitans' final drive around the 1:30 mark, which cost the Broncos roughly 40 seconds.

"That's the one I missed," Fangio said. "It was totally my fault. I had too much thought on what I was going to call on defense and I missed it."

Fangio landed the Broncos' job after nearly four decades as an NFL assistant because of his attention to detail. His mantra of "Death by Inches" resonated with general manager John Elway.

And while the Broncos have shown more discipline and improved defense under Fangio, this type of mistake is hard to stomach from a head coach. Fangio said he has assistants that help with clock management when he's calling the defense, but he failed Monday.

"All the coaches chip in on that," Fangio said. "But it was my miss. Nobody else."

After Stephen Gostkowski made the 25-yard field goal after botching four previous kicks (three field goals, one point after), the Broncos offense had 17 seconds to scramble into position for Brandon McManus. Fangio considered trying a 75-yard field goal, but nixed it because it was deemed unrealistic.

I asked Fangio if it was important that he acknowledge his gaffe given the importance he places on accountability from his players.

"Absolutely," Fangio said. "It's how you move forward."

It is difficult now to see progress through a narrow lens. The Broncos are the only AFC West team without a win, and they head to Pittsburgh this week after the Steelers mauled the Giants.

And Denver is compromised, hopeful that receivers Courtland Sutton (shoulder) and K.J. Hamler (hamstring) will play, but still awaiting MRI results on cornerback A.J. Bouye (shoulder) and running back Phillip Lindsay (turf toe).

"I think Courtland is making improvement," Fangio said. "Hopefully by the end of the week he’s doing more.”

Footnotes
The Broncos lost an interception when rookie Michael Ojemudia's pick was negated by a personal foul from linebacker Alexander Johnson. Johnson said he was playing to the whistle, and Fangio called the penalty of hitting the player, "highly questionable." ...

Bradley Chubb played 59 of 81 snaps, showing good strength in his surgically-repaired left knee.

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  • Sept. 21: NFL Monday Night Football: Saints vs Raiders
  • Sept. 29: MLB Wild Card Series
  • Sept. 30: MLB Wild Card Series
  • Sept. 30: NBA Finals Game 1 on Denver7
  • Oct. 1: Broncos vs Jets on Denver7
  • Oct. 1: MLB Wild Card Series (If needed)
  • Oct. 2: NBA Finals Game 2 on Denver7
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