Kiszla: Broncos lose to Seahawks because rookie coach Nathaniel Hackett was clueless in Seattle – The Denver Post

Kiszla: Broncos lose to Seahawks because rookie coach Nathaniel Hackett was clueless in Seattle - The Denver Post

SEATTLE — On the long plane ride home to Broncos Country, here’s hoping Nathaniel Hackett could sleep in after an inexcusable 17-16 loss to the Seahawks, because if you ask me, Denver’s rookie coach looked clueless in Seattle.

Rather than put the football in the hands of quarterback Russell Wilson, recently rewarded with a $245 million contract extension by the Broncos, during the final seconds of the fourth quarter, Hackett hoped and prayed that kicker Brandon McManus could make a 64-yard field goal. to win the game.

How did that work out for you, coach?

“We just made our decision and wanted to take that shot,” Hackett said.

His explanation for a head-scratching decision during the postgame press conference was more over-caffeinated than a triple espresso, with Hackett nervously citing a sack on the Broncos’ final possession that never happened, while also questioning the ability of the Denver offense. that averaged 6.8 yards on 64 snaps to produce a play.

On fourth down-and-five from the Seattle 46-yard line, Wilson stood in the shotgun until Hackett called a timeout and sent McManus down the field to attempt a field goal longer than anyone in Lumen Field history had ever done.

The “46-yard line left hash was my line to reach. They got it there,” McManus posted on Twitter. “Need to do the kicking.”

While we can all appreciate McManus taking responsibility, Hackett put his kicker in a position to fail. During a distinguished NFL career, McManus has now made one of eight attempts from beyond 60 yards.

A year ago, NFL offenses converted 49% of the time in fourth-and-5 situations. I’m a fingerhead. So you do the math and tell me if Hackett played the odds right.

“I believe in coach Hackett. I believe in what we’re doing,” said Wilson, whose 101.3 quarterback rating against his former team was worthy of a quarterback on his way to an honorable mention in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

So why take Wilson out of the game when there was plenty of time on the clock to complete a pass, call a timeout and put McManus in a much more reasonable position to make a field goal?

“Russell is a dangerous person, especially in short yardage. He can make a lot of things happen,” Seahawks linebacker Uchenna Niwosu said. “When they took him out of the game and brought out the field goal unit, I was like, ‘Okay, maybe they don’t trust him in that situation.’ “

From start to finish, the Broncos played like an ill-coached team led by an inexperienced defensive coordinator, a first-time offensive coordinator and Hackett, who was never forced to face the music for game-management mistakes that made Vic Fangio pinata. for angry Denver die-hards.

There were horribly bad tackles and blown defensive assignments, including the miscommunication that allowed tight end Will Dissly to break wild and free for a 38-yard touchdown on Seattle’s opening drive of the game. There were so many brain dead penalties that I lost count of all the yellow gaiters strewn at the Broncos’ feet.

It was almost as if the Denver defense went on summer vacation instead of trading football fundamentals during the preseason. wait what? Oh, never mind. Hackett believes that August was made for hugs, not handling.

I know Broncos Country took Uncle Vic’s name in vain, but after this team makes Geno Smith look like Patrick Mahomes, it was enough to make a guy wonder if maybe Denver should retain Fangio as defensive coordinator. Read this and try not to cry: taken lightly, a journeyman pro who became the Seahawks’ default starting quarterback completed 23 of 28 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns against the Broncos.

Validation for Smith, bounced from the Jets, Giants and Chargers before finding a home in Seattle?

“I always felt validated,” he said. “So this win doesn’t do it for me.”

The design of Hackett’s quick-strike, short-pass plays was nothing short of brilliant. Not only was Wilson surgically accurate at hitting receivers in space for yards after the catch, he was sacked just twice while dropping back to pass 44 times.

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