well it didn't look like they were going to do it with manning throwing the ball. The point is Peyton was not effective. The punting was a result of ineffectiveness not an inherent desire by fox.i don't see that as Fox's fault except that he is HC .i would think the pieces were in place but couldn't come through. I don't see that as a failure by Fox. now the reality is it is highly doubtfull Fox called the plays at all.
All year long Manning and that offense were the strength of that team, so you don't abandon that when the going gets tough and you especially don't abandon that when your down 29-0 in the championship game. At that point they were probably going to lose anyways, so why not go down swinging instead of curling up in a ball and punting/running draws in an attempt to save yourself from being even more embarrassed than you already have been. It is ultimately Fox's fault because he is the HC, so he's the ultimate authority during the game. The HC always reserves the right to jump on his headset and tell his employees that he doesn't like the plays being called, he's the boss.
You can defend coach Fox all you like, but we all saw this same sad story play out here in Carolina for many years and Sunday night made me glad that nightmare is over for us.