The Broncos faced the Seattle Seahawks, a team that features the certifiably mediocre Geno Smith at quarterback and is starting a rebuilding process, no matter how much its members refuse to admit it.
Although they trailed for much of the contest, the Broncos got the ball with 4:02 remaining in the fourth quarter down by just one, and it looked like it would be Wilson’s time to shine and be heroic.
Facing a fourth down and five with just over a minute left, Wilson and his offense huddled up, but moments later, Denver decided to kick a field goal instead of going for it on fourth down.
The field goal, which was attempted from 64 yards by Brandon McManus, was no good, preserving a surprising win for Seattle.
It was a puzzling finish to a disappointing game for the Broncos, and many are second-guessing head coach Nathaniel Hackett’s decision on his team’s final offensive play.
I’m absolutely stupefied by that decision by Hackett. I really don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything like that.
Just decided he had a better chance of his kicker making the 2nd longest field goal in NFL history than he had of his quarterback picking up five yards!
— nick wright (@getnickwright) September 13, 2022
In general, many feel Hackett didn’t trust Wilson enough to throw the ball in key situations, and it seems inexplicable that he wouldn’t have that type of trust in Wilson.
The Broncos Made Multiple Mistakes
When Denver faced that fourth down with 1:03 remaining, it first looked like they would attempt to gain the five yards that were needed to secure a first down and get into better field goal range.
But the team took its sweet time huddling up, and it wasted more time lining up prior to the snap.
Only when the clock hit 20 seconds was a timeout called, and at that point, the field goal unit was sent out onto the field.
The chances of any kicker knocking down a 64-yard field goal, let alone at the end of a one-point game, aren’t good, and therefore, one would think Wilson, a proven, Hall of Fame QB, would’ve had better odds of getting a first down.
After all, Wilson is still one of the best dual-threat QBs in the game.
During the alternate broadcast of Monday Night Football that some call “Manningcast,” Peyton Manning, the Broncos’ last Hall of Fame signal-caller, was adamant that his former team call a timeout and preserve the clock.
But it wasn’t Denver’s only miscue.
It reached the red zone twice in the third quarter, and both times, it fumbled the ball for a turnover.
On the first such series, the Broncos had a fourth-and-goal on the one-yard line, and instead of having Wilson look to throw, they handed the ball to running back Melvin Gordon, who was stopped just short of the goal line.
If Hackett didn’t trust Wilson on that play, he could’ve opted to kick a field goal, which would’ve made it a one-point Seattle lead.
Then, with just over three minutes left in the period on a third-down at the Seattle one-yard line, Javonte Williams was stopped and ended up coughing up the football.
Broncos at the goal line pic.twitter.com/XRRNUMJoZT
— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) September 13, 2022
Gordon and Williams are capable tailbacks, but neither are exactly Marshawn Lynch in his prime.
In the end, the Broncos also beat themselves by committing 12 penalties, which cost them 106 yards.
The good news for them is that it’s only Week 1, and they have plenty of time to rectify all these issues.
But in the ultra-tough AFC West, one inexcusable loss like this could cost a team the division title and perhaps even a playoff spot altogether.