ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — On second thought, Denver Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett said Tuesday he “definitely” should let the quarterback go. Russell Wilson Run instead of sending the kicker on a fourth-and-5 play in the closing seconds of Monday night’s loss at Seattle. Brandon McManus Out for a 64-yard field goal attempt.
“Looking back on it, I definitely should have gone for it,” Hackett said. “One of those things is, you look back on it and say, ‘Sure we had to go for it, we missed a field goal.’ But we had a plan in that situation, and we knew that was the 46 mark.”
McManus’ field goal attempt sailed wide left, and Hackett’s decision sunk everything about his regular-season debut as a head coach.
Only two kickers in the NFL since 1960 have made field goal attempts of at least 64 yards, and the longest field goal in Luman Field’s history is 56 yards.
McManus, who has one of the strongest legs of any kicker in the league, is 1-of-5 on attempts of at least 60 yards in his career, including Monday night’s miss. Also, last season, according to ESPN Stats and Information Research, teams converted 48 percent of their fourth-and-5 plays.
Hackett said he understood how much effort some kickers put in, at least 64 yards. Matt Prater 64 yards in 2013 and Justin Tucker 66-yarder in 2021 — but after talking pregame with the special teams coaches and McManus, they had decided whether the team should get the Seahawks 46-yard line at the end of the half or at the end. Under the circumstances of the game, McManus would try to kick.
Before the Broncos faced the end on their final drive, Wilson announced that if the Broncos got to the Seahawks 46 on third down, there would be a field goal attempt on fourth down. On third-and-14, Wilson completed a 9-yard pass to the running back Javonte Williams That moved the ball to the Seattle 46.
“We would have gone for it,” Hackett said Tuesday if Williams had gotten even 1 less yard.
“We said 46 yards, the 46 yard line is where we want to be,” Hackett said. “… didn’t work, that’s bad, but hey, that’s part of it.
“It’s being in this seat, being in this business. It happens all the time, it’s happened my whole career, even when my dad was coaching, and you’re prepared for it, you understand it. You just have to keep grinding.”
“We shouldn’t have been in that situation,” Hackett said, as the Broncos fumbled two in the third quarter on back-to-back possessions from the Seahawks 1. False start penalty on Seahawks 3. Wilson finished the game with 340 yards passing as the Broncos outgained the Seahawks 433-253 in total.
The Broncos defense held the Seahawks offense scoreless to just 34 total yards in the second half.
“At the end of the day, it’s on me, that’s our plan, that’s the yardage we need to reach, we all know, we said it in the cage before we did it,” Hackett said. “It never should have gotten to that. … Obviously the end result is you’re going to say you should have done this, you should have done that, but I think the red zone was disappointing to me. We had some. So many chances, we were inches away.”