ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In retrospect, Denver Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett said Tuesday he “definitely” should have allowed a quarterback. Russell Wilson running a fourth-and-5 play in the closing seconds of Monday night’s loss in Seattle instead of sending a kicker Brandon McManus out for a 64-yard field goal attempt.
“Looking back on it, definitely should have gone for it,” Hackett said. “One of those things, you look back on it and say ‘of course we should have gone for it, we missed the field goal.’ But in that situation we had a plan, we knew 46 was the mark.”
McManus’ field goal attempt sailed wide left, and Hackett’s decision overshadowed almost everything else in his regular-season debut as a head coach.
Only two kickers in the NFL, since 1960, have even made field goal attempts of at least 64 yards, and the longest field goal in Lumen Field history is 56 yards.
McManus, who has one of the strongest legs of any kicker in the league, is still 1-of-5, including Monday night’s miss, on attempts of at least 60 yards in his career. Also, last season, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, teams converted 48 percent of their fourth-and-5 plays.
Hackett said he realized how few kickers made an attempt of at least 64 yards — just Matt Prater by 64 yards in 2013 and Justin Tucker with the 66-yard record in 2021 — but that after talking to the special teams coaches as well as McManus in a pregame, they decided whether the team reached the Seahawks 46-yard line in the end of the half or an end-of-game situation, McManus would try the kick.
Wilson was informed of the decision that a field goal attempt would occur on fourth down if the Broncos got to the Seahawks 46 on third down before the Broncos faced the decision on their final drive. On third-and-14, Wilson completed a 9-yard pass to a running back Javonte Williams that moved the ball to the Seattle 46.
Hackett said Tuesday if Williams had gained even 1 less yard “we would have gone for it.”
“We said 46 yards, the 46-yard line was where we wanted to be,” Hackett said. ” … It didn’t work, shit, but hey, that’s part of it.
“That’s part of being in this chair, being in this profession. These things are going to happen all the time, it’s been happening my whole career, even when my dad was coaching, you’re prepared for it, you understand that. You’ve got to keep grinding. “
Hackett also said “we shouldn’t have been in that situation,” given the Broncos lost two fumbles in the game in games that started from the Seahawks 1 on back-to-back possessions in the third quarter and had another drive derailed with a fake kickoff penalty at the Seahawks 3. Wilson finished the game with 340 yards passing as the Broncos outscored the Seahawks 433-253 overall.
The Broncos defense held the Seahawks offense scoreless on just 34 total yards in the second half as well.
“In the end, that’s on me, that was our plan, that was the yard line we had to get to, we all knew it, that’s what we said in the crowd before we did it,” Hackett said. “Should never have gotten to that…Obviously the last decision is one where you’re going to say, should have done this, should have done that, but I think what frustrates me more is the red zone. We had some. many opportunities. , we were inches away.”