Russell Wilson had a fourth-down pass play he was ready to call when Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett decided he wanted to attempt a 64-yard field goal.
“I was prepared to, but he then said, ‘OK, the clock’s going down. We believe we can make the field goal here,'” Wilson said, via video from the team. “But always prepared.”
Trailing 17-16, the Broncos faced third-and-14 at their own 45 with 1:11 remaining. Wilson hit running back Javonte Williams, who ran for 9 yards to the Seattle 46. That was Hackett’s pre-determined line to send out Brandon McManus, even though the kicker has only one field goal of over 60 yards in his career.
The Broncos let the clock run down before calling a timeout with 20 seconds left, and McManus missed.
“Listen. . . I think . . . uh . . . yeah,” Wilson said. “I mean, I think anytime you get the chance to try to win the game and solidify it and try to make a play. . . . I always believe in having the ball and everything else, but also we’ve got a great kicker, and we’re going to believe in our kicker again. I also trust his decisions and everything else, but I’m also always ready to go try to do it if we need to.”
Wilson wouldn’t reveal the play call that was never called, other than to confirm it was a passing play. He wanted to go.
“Yeah, for sure,” Wilson said. “I was at the line of scrimmage ready to go for it, too. I was calling a play, and we were ready to go. But that’s what we decided, and we went with it. We missed by, I don’t know, a yard maybe, a half a yard.”
It doesn’t really matter how far McManus missed the kick. He missed. The Broncos lost. And kicking the field goal wasn’t the right decision even if McManus had made it. Denver backed up the Brink’s truck to acquire Wilson and sign him to a long-term deal, and they took the ball out of his hands when it mattered most.