Broncos should have let Brandon McManus try a 74-yard game-winner

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From #LetRussCook to #LetBranKick.

The Broncos had the ball last night at their own 43 with two seconds left, down two points. They could have tried a one-in-a-million Hail Mary or hook-and-ladder play (they opted instead to throw the ball into a wide swath of green grass), or they could have given kicker Brandon McManus an opportunity to make all-time NFL history.

Yes, it would have been a 74-yard field goal, extending the record by 10 yards. But, yes, McManus has the leg. He once made a 73-yarder in practice, with a live rush.

Last year, coach Vic Fangio nearly gave McManus a chance to try a 65-yarder, before the coach changed his mind. Last night, a 74-yard attempt would have been a defensible alternative to whatever play the Broncos called instead.

Based on the sideline activity and demeanor detected on TV, there apparently was no consideration given to the ultra-long kick. There definitely was no mention of the possibility during the broadcast. It should have at least been on the radar screen, given the kicker’s well-documented leg.

After the game, Fangio wasn’t asked about whether he considered calling for a field goal attempt. Hopefully, when he meets with reporters later today, he will be.

21 responses to “Broncos should have let Brandon McManus try a 74-yard game-winner

  1. Coaches like Fangio are creatures of habit. Since they came into the game watching Hail Mary passes at the end of games that is instinctively what they call. Even if you could have guaranteed to him that the Hail Mary only had a 1% chance versus a 25% with the kick he either STILL would have thrown it or even if you somehow convinced him to kick it he would have acted like it was some crazy-tough decision and given the credit to his gut for going that way.

  2. I’m pretty sure his coaches know what he was capable of in that situation last night. The conditions were likely different from some practice in the past.

  3. It would have been huge for The Brand, but I’m not sure it’s logical.

    Overreaction Tuesday could easily have become “Why did they attempt a kick so far beyond the NFL record, with the game on the line?”


    It’s not a matter of leg strength, but trajectory. At 74 yards distance, the ball has to be aimed so low at around 20 degree angle that the rushers don’t even need to jump or raise their hands. Also at that distance, the trajectory width is less than 18 inches, so the defenders just need to block that tiny “window”.

    Their is a ZERO percent chance a kicker makes that FG in a live game with real rushers.

  5. He’s a great kicker, but if given the chance to make that and he missed, everyone would’ve second guessed the coaching staff and said “that’s crazy, a 74 yard attempt? Fire the coaches!”

  6. Get real: No one is seriously going to entertain kicking a 74 yard field goal in a game.

    All kinds of trickery happens in practice, doesn’t mean it’s viable in a game,

  7. Broncos got ball at 25 yard line and 17 seconds left. Time for two plays and TT was giving them 20 yards uncontested play. Denver was clueless and trying for all needed yardage on first down with Hail Mary attitude. Kicker should not have needed to try a 74 yard field goal if Denver simply took the free 20 yds and lined up with 9 seconds and time out in pocket on second down needing yards to set up for a 64 yard fg.

  8. Yes you try it if its a Free kick you see once in a Blue Moon…no one on the field except the kicker and holder..but that can only happen if its under 10 seconds of the half or end if game, and it was from a change of possession (punt).

  9. mike624 says:
    September 15, 2020 at 11:32 am

    I’m really suprised the Record is only 64. These kickers these days have some big legs.


    With the field position given up, trying a FG that long only makes sense on the last play of the half or game.

  10. mike624 says:
    September 15, 2020 at 11:32 am
    I’m really suprised the Record is only 64. These kickers these days have some big legs.

    8 2 Rate This
    A team is rarely in a situation to kick such a long field goal.
    It would only happen at the end of a half, as the risk/reward for doing it in game is low.
    Also, you would have to kick the ball at such a low angle, that it would most likely be blocked.

  11. As a non partial observer if Fangino let the kicker try one from 74 and the ball landed 10 yards short he would be mocked and ridiculed today.

  12. “I’m pretty sure his coaches know what he was capable of in that situation last night.”

    Yes, but you’d also have been pretty sure that they’d have been smart enough not to waste roughly a full minute by failing to take their timeouts. The clock management was so bad it opens up all sorts of questions about their overall competency. They manage the clock better and the 74-yard field goal issue probably never comes up.

  13. Any other location I’d say no way. But with the decreased air density in Denver (due to altitude) it would have been a very viable option. All of the top field goal distance records were in denver with the exception of Tom Dempsey’s 63 yarder. Btw, that fact combined with his physical disability makes that still the one that stands out the most. Would have been awesome to see a 74 yarder last night for sure.

  14. I agree. 74 yard field goal in Mile High stadium has a better chance than a 60 yard hail mary.

    In a slightly related note: Vic Fangio is fast proving the ‘rise to the level of incompetence’ rule.

  15. The kick doesn’t need to be successful to be the right decision. It just needs to be more likely to be successful than a Hail Mary. If you believe McManus makes that kick even one out of 100 times, it’s probably the right decision to kick.

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