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Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello is the team's scapegoat of the week.
Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello is the team's scapegoat of the week.
Denver Broncos via YouTube

Twitter Finds Someone New to Blame for Broncos' Sickening Choke to Colts

If NFL games lasted only 59 minutes, your Denver Broncos would have a 5-3 record and be tied for the division lead with the Kansas City Chiefs after the latter fell to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football. Unfortunately, however, league contests last an hour, and Denver has now choked away three of them in the last minute, including yesterday's 15-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. The result is a 2-6 record, not to mention rivers of hate flowing through social media.

After Colts field-goal legend Adam Vinatieri kicked his squad to victory, Broncos loyalists on Twitter began casting about for someone to blame, but there was a problem: They've already been calling for the firings of team executive John Elway and head coach Vic Fangio. Who was left?

The answer was provided by quarterback Joe Flacco, who correctly figured out that the best way to avoid personal culpability was to shower fault on someone else — and his target of choice in a post-game press availability was offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello.

Flacco focused on a third-down play with two minutes to go. The Broncos were clinging to a 13-12 lead and had the ball on the Colts' 43. But rather than call a play with a reasonable prospect of picking up the five yards Denver needed to maintain possession, Scangarello dialed up a hand-off to Phillip Lindsay that was doomed to fail — which it did.

"I mean, come on," Flacco told the assembled media. "I just look at it like we're now a 2-6 football team and we're, like, afraid to go for it in a two-minute drill, you know? Like, who cares if you give the ball back to the guys with 1:40 left? They obviously got the field goal anyway. Once again, we're a 2-6 football team, and it just feels like we're kind of afraid to lose the game."

It's tough to argue with this logic — but that was hardly the only example of Scangarello's timidity. His play-calling wouldn't have been innovative during the period when Red Grange was in his prime, and it's a big reason that the Broncos' offense is about as explosive as a firecracker left floating in a bucket of water. The defense is finally rounding into form (Von Miller got a sack and a half yesterday, while Derek Wolfe notched two), yet its efforts are regularly being wasted.

Hence the ire sparked by Scangarello, who has avoided a lot of previous criticism in part because his name's so difficult to spell. But Twitter users weren't to be silenced this time around — although many of them simply slammed his last initial.

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