Gut Reaction: Falcons remind us why Foxball is wrong

Twice yesterday, John Fox decided that thirty-something seconds and multiple timeouts wasn't enough to move downfield for a score.

The first came with 36 seconds left in the first half at 21-21 from Denver's 20-yard line, with all three timeouts in hand. He reprised that decision at 35-35 and 31 seconds remaining in regulation, and two timeouts from the 20.

In the first instance, Denver handed off to Jacob Hester. Then, at the end of regulation, Peyton Manning - the king of NFL comeback QBs - was instructed to take a knee, and you know what happened from there.

Today, the Falcons faced a similar situation, except they had no choice but to go for it. Down one point following a furious comeback by Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, the Falcons began their last drive from the 28-yard line with 25 seconds left, and two timeouts.

Two Matt Ryan passes and two timeouts later, the Falcons kicked a 49-yard field goal, and now they'll be playing in next week's NFC Championship game. Matt Ryan, Mike Smith, and Tony Gonzalez have their first-ever playoff win.

Meanwhile, Fox, Manning, and the Broncos will be prepping for the Pro Bowl, and wondering what if.

To think - perhaps the result would have been better for Denver had they been losing with 31 seconds left.

Edited 9:40am ET 1/14/13 - We originally wrote that Manning had taken a knee in both instances, but prior to halftime, Denver handed off to Hester.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

Mark it ZeroGut Reactions