Monday night’s brunch match between the Broncos and the Seahawks was clouded by Russell Wilson’s return to Seattle. In the end, though, the man wasn’t in the center of attention on the court to play the most important game.
It was the result of questionable round-the-clock management and bizarre decisions by first-year Denver coach Nathaniel Hackett, who was making his first appearance with the team after spending the past three seasons as the Packers offensive coordinator. After 17-16, the Broncos took charge on their 22-yard line with just over four minutes to play and all three timeouts remaining. The offense turned the clock away as they got close to the midfield, but they took a lot of time, leaving Wilson with 20 seconds left in a fourth and 5th encounter from the 46-yard Seattle line.
Rather than allow the offense to try to convert, Hackett instead chose to try a 64-yard field goal with Brandon McManus. The kick missed wide on the left, and Hackett was asked after the match about his decision to take his attack off the field in the final.
“We weren’t moving the ball efficiently at the time, we were getting little bits and we wanted to make sure we could guarantee ourselves a chance to win the game,” Hackett said. “I believed [McManus] He had enough leg and he missed it to the left but we shouldn’t have been in this position from the start. If you’re not going to score in the red zone, if you’re going to get a lot of penalties, they’re going to lose the turnover battle.”
The Broncos flopped twice on the Seattle 1-yard line and outscored the Seahawks by 180 yards, so they definitely had a great chance of winning the game. Denver Wilson signed a $245 million contract extension before the start of the season, making the decision to leave him on the sidelines even more baffling.
Wilson will have plenty of opportunities to be a Broncos champion, but his tenure in Denver was an inauspicious start.
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