Vance Joseph Latest Coaching Victim of Late Game Kicking Conservatism Horror Film


It’s almost as if NFL coaches don’t watch other NFL games. If they did, they would know, like we in the audience, that you don’t want to be the teenagers making out in a horror movie, and you also don’t want to run an excellent two-minute drill, get to the edge of field goal range and waste time and run the ball into the line for a 50+ yard attempt. What happens there is often the stuff of horror films.

You just don’t do it. It’s tempting the football gods. And this time, it was Vance Joseph pulling the Jason Garrett move.

Denver got the ball back needing a field goal to win the game. Case Keenum stood in against heavy pressure and delivered a clutch strike on fourth down to Emmanuel Sanders to get the Broncos into Houston territory. He had previously converted another fourth down earlier in the drive as well. Yet, after that pass to Sanders to get the ball to the 37-yard line with 43 seconds left, Denver ran two more plays from scrimmage.

The first was a short pass to get the ball to the 32, and the second, after letting the clock run for 30 seconds, was a dive into the line for a loss of 1 and the use of the final timeout to stop the clock for a kick.

It’s basically malpractice for a coach to pucker up like this and completely take the air out of it. Field goal range is pretty much a myth. It is not a black-and-white, yes-or-no line. We’ve seen some obscenely long kicks made over 65 yards. We’ve seen misses on short kicks. The percentages go up with every yard you move forward, and there is a point, sure, where it hits 0% and a point where it approaches 100%. To basically say, “I’m good” when Keenum and the offense made so many plays is a waste. That same kick might have been good 15 yards closer.

And we know how this one ended. With Vance Joseph staring in disbelief as the rest of us wonder why we have to keep watching this lazy movie trope.