I turned Monday Night Football off at halftime this week. Well, at least for a little bit. I checked the score online midway through the third quarter and it was clear that I needed to turn the game between Denver and San Diego back on.
Sure enough, the Broncos had already turned a 24-0 halftime deficit into just a 24-14 game. And by now you probably know that Peyton Manning led Denver all the way back to win 35-24 in a stunning roller-coaster of events. In fact, it was so exciting that Denver’s veteran head coach John Fox called it one of his top five victories in his career.
John Fox joined KOA in Denver with The Dave Logan Show to discuss the outcome of Monday night’s game, what he saw in his team at halftime, when he believed his team would win, the play of linebacker Keith Brooking, the magnitude of the victory in the grand scheme of the season and where the victory ranks for him all-time.
That was some game last night:
“It was definitely a tale of two halves, that’s for sure. We found some new ways to mess up in the first half, but the guys hung in there and fought back and had a heckuva second half.”
You said at halftime you saw the belief in your players’ eyes that they could come back. Did that make the outcome less shocking?:
“Yeah, I think we’d kind of been in that situation before and we just try to play here, play there, as far as a defensive stop, maybe get the ball back to our offense. We’d been in that position before through this season. This time, we were able to finish it off. It was more of a one-two punch. Of course our offense was outstanding, but our defense contributed quite a bit to that comeback as well.”
Was there a moment when you really started to believe your team was going to win?:
“I think it first started on the opening drive [of the second half]. We were able to receive the kickoff and the offense went right down and scored. Of course on the sack-fumble that Tony Carter brought to the end zone, all of the sudden you look up and what was 24 points is now a 10-point differential. Those two things happen and it gave everybody hope.”
On veteran linebacker Keith Brooking:
“He’s got a lot of football savvy. He’s been there, done that, in the National Football League. He started against Oakland two weeks ago in a home win and I think he’s earned the coaches’ respect, his teammates’ respect, and I thought he brought some presence there.”
Everyone was pointing to Monday’s game as being big because a win would mean being tied for first in the division. How much do you guys, as a team, look at the ramifications of games like that?:
“Both teams, I think, realized the importance. Any time you play a division team, it’s really kind of a two-game swing. We were 1-0 in the division, they were 2-0, and it was Monday Night Football, the week before the bye. All those things come into play. Not that there’s any must-win games in the sixth game of the season, but obviously it was a very pivotal game. We’d stumbled a little bit against some pretty good opponents and kind of feeling our way and it was a neat way to kind of gain some confidence going into the bye week. There’s only two teams that have winning records right now in the AFC and we’re right there in the mix at 3-3 and we’ll see what happens.”
Where did that game rank in terms of great games by teams that you’ve coached?:
“It’s definitely up there. I’ve been doing this for a quarter of a century, so there’s a lot of big games and a lot of big wins and I’ve been very blessed from that standpoint. But this is definitely in the top five.”