SEATTLE — On the long plane ride to Broncos country, I hope Nathaniel Hackett can sleep after an inexcusable 17-16 loss to the Seahawks because if you ask me, Denver’s rookie coach looked distraught in Seattle.
Rather than putting football in the hands of quarterback Russell Wilson, recently rewarded with a $245 million contract extension by the Broncos, during the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, Hackett hoped and prayed that kicker Brandon McManus can make a field of 64 yards to win the game.
How did it go for you, coach?
“We just made our decision and wanted to take this shot,” Hackett said.
His explanation for a head-scratching decision in the postgame press conference was more caffeinated than a triple espresso, with Hackett nervously citing a sack on Broncos final possession that never happened, while doubting of an offense’s ability in Denver. that averaged 6.8 yards on 64 snaps to produce a big game.
On fourth down and five from the Seattle 46-yard line, Wilson held on to the shotgun until Hackett called timeout and sent McManus downfield to attempt a field goal longer than ever in the game. history of Lumen Field.
The “46-yard left hash line was my go-to line. They got it there,” McManus posted on Twitter. “Need to do the kick.
While we can all appreciate McManus taking responsibility, Hackett put his kicker in a position to fail. In 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 fifth situations. I am a moron. So do the math and tell me if Hackett played the odds correctly.
“I believe in Coach Hackett. I believe in what we’re doing,” said Wilson, whose 101.3 quarterback rating against his former team was quarterback-worthy en route to a spot. of honor in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
So why pull 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 score a field goal?
“Russell is a dangerous person, especially in short distance. He can shake up a lot of things,” Seahawks linebacker Uchenna Niwosu said. “When they took him out of the game and took the placement unit out, I was like, ‘OK, maybe they don’t trust him in this situation.’ ”
From start to finish, the Broncos played like an ill-drilled team led by an inexperienced defensive coordinator, a first-time offensive coordinator and Hackett, who was never forced to face the music for mismanagement. games that turned Vic Fangio into a pinata. for irritated Denver die-hards.
There were horribly bad tackles and failed defensive assignments, including the miscommunication that allowed tight end Will Dissly to lash out wildly and freely for a 38-yard touchdown on Seattle’s first drive of the game. There were so many brain-death penalties that I lost count of all the yellow handkerchiefs littered at the Broncos’ feet.
It was almost like Denver’s defense was going on summer vacation instead of tackling football fundamentals during the preseason. Wait what? Oh whatever. Hackett thinks August is for hugs, not tackles.
I know Broncos Country took the name Uncle Vic to no avail, but after watching this team make Geno Smith look like Patrick Mahomes, it was enough to make one wonder if Denver maybe should have retained Fangio as their defensive coordinator. . Read this and try not to cry: A lightly regarded 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, proven by the Jets, Giants and Chargers before finding a home in Seattle?
“I always felt validated,” he said. “So this victory does not suit me.”
Hackett’s design of quick strikes and short passes was simply brilliant. Not only was Wilson surgically accurate in hitting receivers into space for yards after the catch, he was only sacked twice while falling back to pass 44 times.
But did Hackett prepare his red zone game plan from files that former offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur forgot to clean from his desk?
With a chance to take the lead on back-to-back drives in the third quarter, the Broncos fumbled twice with the ball snapped within a yard of Seattle’s end zone. The first turnover was made by Melvin Gordon and the second error occurred when Javonte Williams dropped the ball. The real big boo-boo, however, was that Hackett outdid himself by running a shotgun formation that eliminated a mere quarterback from his goal-line options.
As a bad moon rose in Seattle, Wilson was served a big slice of humble pie by the notorious rowdy fans known in Seattle as the “12s”, who booed him relentlessly all night.
What about Hackett’s honeymoon in Denver? It’s finish. In his early days, he acted as a head coach not yet ready for prime time.
The Broncos’ time to win is now. If you want to defend Hackett’s decision to take the ball out of Wilson’s hands and put the game on McManus’ foot for a field goal from 64 yards, I have a question for you:
Are you crazy?
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