Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Denver Broncos [Print without images]

Thursday, February 20, 2014
Harvin's TD return still stings John Fox

By Jeff Legwold

INDIANAPOLIS -- There is plenty that didn’t go right in the Denver Broncos' dismal Super Bowl effort that was the 43-8 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

But in all of the plays head coach John Fox has since re-wound in his head over the past few weeks, things like the botched snap to open the game, and the interception returned for a touchdown after Peyton Manning's arm was hit, there is one that sticks out.

That would be Percy Harvin's 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half.

Trailing 22-0 at halftime, after a collection of unexpected stumbles and turnovers, there was still a feeling in the Broncos' locker room, according to several players and coaches, that the team still had time to kickstart its record-setting offense and make it a game.

And because a stiff wind was in kicker Matt Prater's face -- “he ain’t kicking it out of the endzone," Fox said -- the Broncos elected to try to pooch kick between the last line of Seahawks' blockers and Harvin, who was on the goal-line.

“We kick a pooch kick, it’s an aggressive call, but it was a great call and a great kick," Fox said Thursday at the NFL scouting combine.

Prater kicked it high, to his right and the ball hit at about the Seahawks’ 13-yard line, and instead of getting the unpredictable bounce the Broncos had hoped, the ball simply bounced straight up. Harvin easily snagged it at the 13.

“It was just a (expletive) bounce," Fox said. “Ball bounces anywhere other than where it did, we got like a 90 percent chance of getting it. So that would be a nice way to start the third quarter to recover a muffed pooch kick. But the ball bounced straight up to him. So it was really the bounce, it was a great kick, exactly what we planned on doing, it didn’t bounce right."

After Harvin escaped for the score, much of the remainder of the game was ceremonial.

Fox was also asked Thursday how much time he has spent reflecting on how the team's season that was fueled by Super Bowl aspirations, ended in such a difficult manner.

“I think, first of all, I give Seattle trememdous credit for playing very well, playing better than we did," Fox said. "I think as you look back ... as you look back, get a chance to look at the tape and expound on that, I think we’re capable of playing better. Not taking anything away from them, they had a lot to do with it. It was disappointing that we didn’t play better. We had a great season, and unfortunately we did not have our best effort in the last game."