Joe Flacco didn't hold back during his postgame press conference following the Denver Broncos' 15-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. The loss dropped Flacco and the Broncos to 2-6, as Denver is now all alone in last place in the AFC West standings.
After taking a 13-3 lead three minutes into the second half, the Broncos punted on each of their final possessions. With two minutes remaining, and with Denver leading 13-12 and facing a third and 7 at the Colts' 43-yard-line, the Broncos ran a draw play with Philip Lindsay that was stuffed for no gain. Indianapolis then used its final timeout before driving 56 yards to set up Adam Vinatieri's game-winning, 51-yard field goal with 26 seconds left.
"We're now a 2-6 football team and we're like, afraid to go for it in a two-minute drill, you know?" Flacco said, via Lindsay Joy of Fox 31 Denver. "Like, who cares if you give the ball back to the guys with a minute, 40 seconds left? They obviously got the field goal, anyway."
Flacco, who went 20-32 for 174 yards on Sunday, reiterated his thoughts when asked to elaborate on Denver's late game offensive philosophy.
"Once again, we're a 2-6 football team," he said. "It feels like we're kinda afraid to lose a game. It's third and 5 at the end of the game, who care if they have a time out or not. Getting in field goal range isn't that tough. So you're just putting your defense in bad situations. I just felt like, what do we have to lose, like, why can't we be aggressive in some of these situations. That's kinda how I feel about a lot of the game today."
Lindsay, who finished the game with 59 yards on 14 carries and 17 receiving yards on five receptions, agreed with his quarterback.
"We've got to find a way to score more points, we've got to be more aggressive at it, period, [because] our defense is doing its job ... we should have been able to get the five yards and run the clock out," Lindsay said, via ESPN's Jeff Legwold. "We're asking [the defense] to do a lot, we got to do better. Like Flacco said, Joe is right, we've got to be more aggressive. When that's coming from our quarterback, that's saying something. Joe is our leader."
Vic Fangio, who is in his first season as the Broncos' head coach, was asked about Flacco's comments during an appearance on KOA Colorado.
"Well, I'm sure he was expressing his frustrations at the time," Fangio said, via Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic. "We all were. And in some ways he's right. We probably should've been more aggressive with some throws, and I'm really not even talking about the last possession. I'm talking about all throughout the second half there that we probably could have thrown some more times. But we didn't, and it didn't work out, so you expect this type of stuff."
Flacco, when asked, said that he does have the power to discuss certain calls on the sideline but added that "there's only so much you can do. As players you've got to go out and execute what's given to you." Flacco added that the Broncos should try to get receiver Courtland Sutton -- whose 25-yard catch helped set up Royce Freeman's third quarter touchdown -- more involved in the offense. Sutton caught three of six targets for 72 yards in Sunday's game.
"I felt like at some point we just got to start going up to [Sutton] and taking some shots," Flacco said. "I kind of mentioned it at halftime. He's a really good wide receiver and you can't not take some shots with him. Even if you don't hit them ... good things happen."
While Flacco is clearly frustrated, the good news for Denver is that the Broncos' defense continues to be one of the NFL's stronger units. Through eight games, Denver is eighth in scoring defense, fourth in passing yards allowed and fourth in passing touchdowns allowed. The Broncos' defense is also sixth in the NFL in third down efficiency.