Everyone waited with baited breathe to find out if Von Miller would be active for the game today. Game time status for Miller: Inactive. Gulp. What are we going to do now?
Little did people realize that Miller’s backup, Mario Haggan, is a nine year veteran that’s very capable of starting in the NFL. Haggan had his best season last year with 87 tackles, 5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. He had his best game of this season today.
“He did good,” John Fox said. “He made a big play early on. I was happy to see that for him because he’s a good football player. He stepped up in a big way today.”
Against the Vikings, he led the team in tackles (12), and had a pick-6 in the first quarter. Those were the Broncos only points of the half.
“I’m just happy (Christian) Ponder wanted to throw it to me,” Haggan said with a chuckle. “He’s a good quarterback, he’s up and coming, he’s doing a lot of good things. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. God works wonders, man.”
That was one of two very important picks by Ponder. The other came with less than 90 seconds to go when the game was tied 32-32. The Vikings had a minute and some change to work a miracle. All they needed was a field goal and week 13 was theirs. It seemed like a very plausible outcome considering how well Minnesota’s offense had moved the ball throughout the day (489 yards of total offense).
“Bad pass by the quarterback,” Andre Goodman said. “I was in the right place at the right time, but it was a bad pass by the quarterback. I’m pretty sure it was one he wished he had back.”
Goodman’s interception set up the Broncos game winning field goal as the clock hit 0:00. It was a play that the Broncos needed. It was a play that Goodman needed even more.
Throughout the first half, Goodman got beat by Devin Aromashodu time and time again. In the first half, the reciever had 5 catches for 74 years. Two simple slant routes, one on 3rd and 16, threw the Broncos off guard. Aromashodu finished with 6 catches for 90 yards, but Goodman had a critical pass interference called against him in the second half.
The interception on the last Vikings drive injected life back into Goodman and it kept the adrenaline pumping throughout the veins of Broncos Country.
It doesn’t matter who makes the plays. It only matters that they’re made when it counts. That’s the philosophy of any team destined for the playoffs.