ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — After a few hours to sleep on it, or really a few hours to just toss and turn about it, Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio still didn’t agree Monday with two key calls that went against his team in the closing seconds of Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Bears even as ultimately, Fangio said, it’s his team’s job to win the game anyway.
“In regards to officiating, I will quote (New Orleans Saints coach) Sean Payton, who is a much more senior head coach than I am, ‘we can’t control poor officiating and awful calls’ and just go about it that way,” Fangio said. “We still have to find a way to win the game regardless of what’s happened.”
The Broncos scored a touchdown to go with a 2-point conversion to take a 14-13 lead over the Bears with 31 seconds left in Sunday’s game, but ultimately lost, 16-14, when Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro booted a 53-yard field goal as time expired.
In retrospect, Fangio still didn’t agree with two key calls on the Bears’ final drive — a roughing the passer penalty on linebacker Bradley Chubb on the first play of the Bears’ final drive and moments later the officials putting a second back on the clock, as they awarded the Bears a timeout, just before the final kick.
Fangio was asked Monday if he thought Chubb’s penalty, which moved the ball from the Bears’ 25-yard line to the 45-yard line (it was enforced on top of a 5-yard completion), was called because the rule states the defender “must strive to wrap up the passer with the defensive players arms and not land with all or most of his body weight.”
Fangio replied: “It wasn’t called as written.”
After three Mitch Trubisky incompletions following Chubb’s penalty, to go with a too many men in the huddle penalty on the Bears, Trubisky completed a 25-yard pass to Allen Robinson in the middle of the field to move the ball to the Broncos 35-yard line. Initially, the Broncos believed time had expired on the play — there was 9 seconds remaining on the clock when the play began — but after a short conversation officials awarded the Bears a timeout as they put 1 second back on the clock.
Pineiro then kicked the game-winner on the next play.
“I don’t think there was (a second left),” Fangio said. “They’re assuming a lot there and they will tell you there has to be lag time. He went down at 1 (second left), nothing in the world happens simultaneously, there is lag time there. And they didn’t deem there was lag time there.”
Asked if his understanding that it was Trubisky who called, and been awarded, the timeout, Fangio said: “Still doesn’t matter, a player can call timeout, but nobody can call a timeout until the guy is down.”
Following the game, Bears coach Matt Nagy said: “But the second he caught the ball, I kept (calling a timeout) … he can’t blow the whistle until it’s truly dead, but I was right down there. Every second, every half second matters.”