Denver Broncos: Vic Fangio is dead wrong about Harbaugh, Ravens

Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio was blunt regarding the way the Ravens handled the end of the game on Sunday, and he was also wrong.

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is one of the best head coaches in the NFL and has been for a really long time. He is also the former boss of Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio, who worked in Baltimore once upon a time.

Fangio was fuming mad at Harbaugh and the Ravens for their decision to pick up a few extra yards at the end of the Ravens’ 23-7 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Fuming as in, fuming.

Denver Broncos: Vic Fangio wrong to be upset with Ravens

Fangio and many other Denver Broncos players and coaches were irate over the Ravens’ decision to run the ball when most teams would just take a knee. The Ravens were only three yards away from tying an NFL record with 43 straight games of 100 yards or more rushing as a team.

Fangio said after the game that the Broncos were onto the Pittsburgh Steelers, but then on Monday, he had some very select words for the Ravens and the way they handled things at the end of the game.

Fangio is right about one thing — most teams don’t run in situations like that that call for the victory formation.

It would also be understandable if you were worried about player safety to be irate over this kind of stat padding from the Ravens, but there’s one gaping hole in Vic Fangio’s argument.

Actually, there is more than one gaping hole.

Just before the Ravens got the ball, Fangio was having the Denver Broncos’ offense move the ball as though they were in a do-or-die two-minute offense. Down by 16 points, how can you be preaching about player safety when you’re not sitting on the ball?

It’s not an uncommon practice in the NFL to try and salvage something at the end of a game like that. The Denver Broncos saw that firsthand in a week one victory over the New York Giants as Daniel Jones orchestrated a meaningless touchdown drive that only makes the Broncos’ points allowed per game look worse than it actually is.

With a pretty significant streak on the line, it’s understandable that the Ravens wanted to gain a few yards. Had Lamar Jackson broken his leg or torn his ACL? Well, the streak would have seemed pretty meaningless.

Had a significant injury occurred on the other side? Fangio would have had a different reason to be upset.

However, Fangio also subjected his own starting offense to injury during a two-minute drive at the end of the game, which resulted in Drew Lock being picked off in the end zone.

Yes, it’s more common practice in the NFL to do what the Broncos did, but how can you preach about player safety when you’re putting your own guys in harm’s way just moments before?

Furthermore, Fangio subjected his starting defense to injury during the aforementioned week one blowout of the New York Giants.

Remember the Ronald Darby injury? It occurred on the final drive of the game against the Giants.

Why in the world was Darby out on the field at that time with the outcome of the game decided? Was Fangio worried about player safety at that time?

What about Josey Jewell, a key starter on defense playing special teams and getting hurt in that phase because of the incompetence of the coaching and the other players on the roster to get the job done? Jewell is hardly the only starter playing special teams in the NFL, but the decision to put him out there was obviously motivated by the team’s lack of success in that phase. It was deemed a necessity.

Now, neither the defense nor the special teams get Josey Jewell this season.

This is not all to say that Vic Fangio doesn’t care enough about the safety of his players. I believe he truly does. However, he’s got to practice what he preaches. He has just publicly burned a bridge with John Harbaugh whose response to Fangio was perfect. He stated that what’s important to the Ravens may not be important to the Broncos, and he won’t apologize for that.

Fangio’s fit on the sideline and harsh words for Harbaugh and the Ravens were completely off base. Fangio is dead wrong because he’s not consistently doing the same things he’s asking other teams to do.