Data Proves Why Broncos HC Nathaniel Hackett was Wrong for Kicking the 64-Yarder

Nathaniel Hackett and Russell Wilson

Getty Nathaniel Hackett and Russell Wilson disappointed against the Seahawks.

The Denver Broncos fell just short of beating the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night with the final scoring being 17-16.

With 4:02 left in the game, the Broncos were in the perfect story book ending. Down by just one point, Russell Wilson was in position to shut up all the Seattle fans that booed him the entire game and break their hearts. All Denver had to do was get into field goal range for kicker Brandon McManus to kick the game-winning field goal.

That kind of went as planned.

McManus told head coach Nathaniel Hackett that he needed to get the ball to the Seattle 46-yard line on the left hash mark. This would make it a 64-yard field goal.

As the Denver offense was driving, they ended up at the 46-yard line on the left hash mark. It became 4th-down and five yards to go. With 1:03 left on the clock, Hackett had the option of putting the ball in his quarterback’s hands or allowing McManus to attempt the 2nd longest field goal in NFL history.

Hackett made the decision to allow McManus to win the game for the Broncos with just 20 seconds left in the game.

McManus missed the kick wide left and Seattle would go on and win the game in dramatic fashion. The only issue is that all of the data proved that Hackett should’ve put the ball in Wilson’s $242 million hands.

According to, McManus is just 1-of-5 on field goal attempts beyond 60 yards and his career long is just 61 yards. In fact, only two players have ever made a field goal from at least 64 yards, Matt Prater in 2013 and Justin Tucker in 2021. His 66-yarder broke Prater’s record.

Wilson on the other hand has converted 57% of 4th downs during his career when needing between four to six yards on 4th-downs. Last season, NFL teams converted 46% of the time on 4th-downs when needing between four to six yards, according to ESPN.

Hackett Admitted He Was Wrong

“Looking back at it, we definitely should’ve gone for it,” Hackett said Tuesday when talking to the local media. 

Hackett also admitted that they were planning on going for it on 4th-down until Javonte Williams got to the 46-yard line on a swing pass from Wilson.

“Javonte [Williams] makes a move, goes a lot further than I think we had anticipated. We were expecting to go for it on 4th-down and then you hit the mark that we all set before we started.” Hackett added, “We had to make the decision if we wanted to give it to Brandon [McManus] and we did.”

Broncos Should’ve Never Been in That Situation

Obviously, the main story to come out the Monday night’s game is that the Broncos lost because of a coaching error and missed field goal, but Denver left plenty of points on the board.

“The thing that frustrates me more is that red zone. We had so many opportunities, we were inches away [from scoring a touchdown]. Hackett continued, “Talking with the tight ends today, all four of them had an opportunity to get in the endzone. We had some other people that had some opportunities, we missed them and it should’ve never gotten to that.”

In the 3rd quarter, Denver was inside Seattle’s one-yard line and running back Melvin Gordon fumbled the ball that was recovered by the Seahawks. On the very next drive, Denver’s offense was inside Seattle’s one-yard line again and Williams fumbled into the endzone that was recovered by the Seahawks.

In fact, the Broncos were 0-for-4 in the redzone on Monday night.

After giving up 17 points in the first half, the Denver defense shut out Seattle in the 2nd half and only allowed the Seahawks to gain 44 yards.

The Broncos definitely outplayed Seattle, but Denver just couldn’t capitalize on the easy opportunities when they needed to score points.