Nathaniel Hackett owns his mistake, but then defends field goal decision
Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett acknowledged his puzzling field goal call against the Seahawks on Monday night didn’t make a lot of sense.
Rather than let Russell Wilson go for it on fourth-and-five, down 17-16 with about a minute left, Hackett let the clock bleed down to 20 seconds and trotted kicker Brandon McManus out for a 64-yard field goal. McManus barely missed, and Hackett has been the talk of the NFL world ever since. Why not let Wilson make a play in that situation?
At his press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Hackett initially owned his mistake, but also defended his thinking and plan.
“Looking back at it, we definitely should’ve gone for it. One of those things, you look back, you say ‘of course we should go for it, we missed a field goal.’ But in that situation we had a plan. We knew the 46 was the mark,” Hackett said.
Hackett, Wilson and McManus have been consistent in saying the kicker wanted to try a field goal from that deep. Hackett trusted McManus, which was a mistake.
After a loss on second-down, the Broncos faced a daunting third-and-14. Wilson dumped the ball off to Javonte Williams who broke a tackle and scampered for nine yards. Ironically enough, Williams got to exactly the 46-yard line, the mark set by McManus.
“He dumps it out to Javonte, Javonte makes a move, goes a lot farther than we anticipated. We were expecting to go for it on fourth down and then you hit the mark. The mark that we had all set before we started. We said the 46-yard line was where we wanted to be and we got there. So we had to make a decision if we wanted to give it to Brandon and we did. And it didn’t work, it sucks, but hey that’s part of it,” Hackett said.
It’s interesting that Hackett opened the press conference by admitting he messed up, but then talked for 45 seconds about why he did what he did. It’s definitely taking some responsibility, but also being stubborn about acknowledging the decision was the wrong one.