By Justin Adams

(CBS4) – On the New England Patriots’ final offensive play against the Denver Broncos with 1 minute and 3 seconds remaining in the game on fourth-and-10, Broncos head coach Vic Fangio called a double-safety blitz. The play call was successful as Cam Newton’s pass fell incomplete giving the Broncos the 18-12 road win.

Damien Harris #37 of the New England Patriots runs the ball against Alexander Johnson #45 of the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium on October 18, 2020.

Damien Harris #37 of the New England Patriots runs the ball against Alexander Johnson #45 of the Denver Broncos. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

“It was one that we had never run before and that I had never run before in my career, but we put it in and I called it there,” Fangio said on Sunday after the game.

“I just decided that this was the time to do it. This was the week to put it in plus it was the time for us to do it as our package evolves here.”

Broncos safety Justin Simmons called it “very Vic-esque.”

“I remember the Browns game last year at home he called a safety blitz and we hadn’t called it the whole game, but we had worked on it so much throughout the week. He’s the type of guy that just has a great feel for the game in terms of play calling and he just felt it was the right time to call it,” Simmons said.

In recent weeks, the Broncos have manufactured ways to get after the quarterback with pass rushers Von Miller and Jurrell Casey out with injuries. The extra pressure has been effective as the team has racked up 10 sacks and forced three turnovers in the last two games. Denver only had four sacks and forced two turnovers in the first three games.

“We just kept harping, ‘Do what we do, do what we do and attack,’” Simmons said.

The Broncos are in the middle of the pack in the NFL when it comes to calling blitzes. According to Pro Football Reference, Denver blitzes 29 percent of the time, which is 14th in the NFL. Last year the Broncos blitzed 24.1 percent of the time, which was 23rd in the league. The Pittsburgh Steelers blitz the most at 46.3 percent.

 Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots prepares to snap the ball against the Denver Broncos during the first half at Gillette Stadium on October 18, 2020.

Cam Newton of the New England Patriots prepares to snap the ball against the Denver Broncos. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Broncos linebacker Alexander Johnson is sent on more blitzes than anyone else in the league, rushing the quarterback 54 times. Overall, the Broncos have blitzed 62 times and have sacked the quarterback seven times. Opposing quarterbacks are 34-for-55, completing 61.8 percent of their passes for 401 yards with two touchdowns and one interception when Denver sends the extra man.

As Denver prepares to face Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs high-powered offense, Fangio knows he has to pick and choose his spots when he send the extra pressure.

“You’ve got to mix it up because the great quarterbacks are too good, and this quarterback is definitely great. He’s got great weapons, they’ve got a great offensive scheme, and they’re really tough to beat.

The Broncos (2-3) host the Kansas City Chiefs (5-1) on Sunday at 2:25 p.m.

Justin Adams

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