Hackett: Broncos ‘should have gone for it’ on 4th

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — On closer inspection, Denver Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett said Tuesday he should have “absolutely” let go of quarterback Russell Wilson play a fourth and five 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, I should have definitely gone for it,” Hackett said. “One of those things, you look back on it and say ‘of course we have to go for it, we missed the field goal.’ But in that situation we had a plan, we knew 46 was the goal.”

McManus’ field goal sailed wide to the left and Hackett’s decision overpowered almost everything else about his regular season debut as head coach.

In fact, only two kickers in the NFL, since 1960, have made field goals from at least 64 yards, and the longest field goal in Lumen Field’s history is 56 yards.

McManus, who has one of the strongest legs of any kicker in the league, is still 1-for-5, including Monday night’s miss, on attempts at least 60 yards in his career. According to research by ESPN Stats & Information, teams turned 48 percent of their fourth-and-five games last season.

Hackett said he understood how few kickers have attempted at least 64 yards — just Matt Prater at 64 yards in 2013 and Justin Tucker with the record 66-yarder in 2021 — but that after talking to the special teams coaches and McManus in the pregame, they had decided whether to leave the team at the end of the half or at the end of the Seahawks 46-yard line-of-game situation, McManus would attempt the kick.

Wilson had been made aware of the decision that a field goal shot would occur in fourth if the Broncos reached the Seahawks 46 in third before the Broncos had to make the decision on their final drive. On a third and 14, Wilson completed a 9 yard pass to run back Javonte Williams who moved the ball to the Seattle 46.

Hackett said Tuesday that if Williams had won 1 meter less, “we would have gone for it.”

“We said 46 yards, the 46-yard line was where we wanted to be,” Hackett said. “… didn’t work, it sucks, but hey, that’s part of it.

“That’s part of sitting in this chair, in this profession. Things like this will always happen, it’s happened all my career, even when my father was coaching, you’re prepared for that, you understand. You have to keep grinding.”

Hackett also said “we shouldn’t have been in that situation” as the Broncos lost two in-game fumbles on games starting with the Seahawks 1 on back-to-back possession in the third quarter and had another drive derailed with a false start penalty at the Seahawks 3. Wilson finished the game with 340 yards passing while the Broncos defeated the Seahawks 433-253 overall.

The Broncos defense also held the Seahawks offense scoreless in the second half at just 34 in all.

“Ultimately it’s up to 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 huddle before we did it,” Hackett said. “It should never have come to this. … Obviously the last decision is the one you’re going to say I should have done this, should have done that, but I think what frustrates me more is the red zone. We We had a few chances, we were centimeters away.”



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