Wilson on Broncos late-game fiasco: ‘I always believe in having the ball’
The Denver Broncos just made Russell Wilson one of the highest-paid players in football, yet their plan took the ball out of the star quarterback’s hands and it put it on the foot of their veteran kicker on Monday night.
Brandon McManus’ kick sailed left late in the fourth quarter as Denver dropped their debut game of the 2022 season and Wilson’s first as a Bronco. The decision to not go for the sticks at fourth-and-five on the 46-yard line and instead attempt the second-longest field goal in NFL history has been highly criticized. Especially since Denver had all three timeouts. However, ESPN analytics said the field goal gave the Broncos a marginally better shot at winning.
Still, the optics of not trusting Russ, the gunslinger returned to his old home that scorned him, riding in on a huge contract, were not great. Making it worse two days later is now knowing Wilson was ready to throw the football with a play call under center.
“Anytime we get the chance to try t 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 got a great kicker, and we were gonna believe in our kicker,” Wilson said. “I always trust his decisions and everything else. But I’m also always ready to go try to do it.”
“I was at the line of scrimmage ready to go for it too, I was calling a play, and we were ready to go,” he continued. “But you know, that’s what we decided, and we went with it, and we missed by a yard, maybe.”
What would’ve been Wilson’s 25th career fourth quarterback comeback was never seen through to the point where the clock strikes zero. Instead, Nathaniel Hackett didn’t call a timeout or give him that chance in his first game.
“I can’t tell you that play; it was a pass. I need that play later, maybe,” Wilson joked.
Wilson didn’t know the Broncos’ plan was to kick a field goal to win the game until they told him in his helmet right before the fourth down play. Meanwhile the decision of kicking a field goal if Denver got the ball to the 46-yard line at the left hash, was made by Hackett before the final drive started.
Now the Broncos, at 0-1, return home to host the Texans. The Monday night game in Seattle may haunt Denver this season for the missed kick and the decisions that led up to it, and the two goal line fumbles by Broncos running backs.
“I think just capitalizing on opportunities, we had some great ones,” he said. “Our defense got the ball a couple of times for us and just did some special things. I thought we moved the ball extremely well. We’re really confident moving up and down the field. We had some opportunities in the red zone, but that’s the name of the game. I always call them game-altering plays. You got to make them, and that’s the difference in that game.”