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Gary Kubiak defends going for 62-yard field goal in overtime

Believe it or not, but with five games to go, the defending champion Denver Broncos are currently out of the playoffs. At 7-4, they’re tied with the Miami Dolphins for the AFC’s sixth seed, with the tiebreak currently going in Miami’s favor.

Of course, they’re still right in the thick of things, standing just two games behind the Oakland Raiders for first in the AFC West, and a game behind the Kansas City Chiefs. But at the moment, the situation feels much more grim given the opportunity they missed last night.

With time running out in last night’s game, the Broncos led the Chiefs 24-16. Then, miraculously, Alex Smith guided Kansas City’s offense down the field and forced overtime with a touchdown and two-point conversion with just 12 seconds left.

The teams traded field goals in overtime, so time was running out as Denver drove down field for the potential winning score. The Chiefs held at their own 45-yard field, forcing a very tough decision for head coach Gary Kubiak.

With just over a minute to go, Kubiak could either go for it on 4th-and-long, punt and essentially force a tie, or attempt a 62-yard field goal. He went with the latter choice, and Brandon McManus missed wide left.

A few completions later, Kansas City’s Cairo Santos banged a 34-yarder off the goal post through the uprights for the win.

No regret

In hind sight, a punt and a tie would’ve been much better for the Broncos and their goal of making the playoffs. Yet, coach Kubiak defended his decision while talking to reporters postgame.

From Edward Lewis of NFL.com:

My thing is we’re going to try to win around here and I made that decision and it just didn’t work out,” Kubiak said. “But I got a lot of confidence in Brandon, a lot of confidence in our football team. That’s why I made that decision.”

“It’s on me,” Kubiak added. “I just gave him a chance, thought we could do it, but we didn’t get it done. Give them credit.”

Even if you don’t agree with Kubiak’s play call, you have to respect him for playing to win rather than to tie.

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