Analysis: Nathaniel Hackett head-scratcher caps wild Week 1

Sep 12, 2022, 11:46 AM | Updated: Sep 13, 2022, 9:25 am
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, left, walks off the field with offensive tackle Garett B...

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, left, walks off the field with offensive tackle Garett Bolles (72) after an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 17-16. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

(AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

Nathaniel Hackett found himself in no man’s land, and he assured himself a spot in football purgatory with a head-scratcher of a decision that turned his head coaching debut into a dud and ruined Russell Wilson’s homecoming.

Trailing the Seahawks 17-16 Monday night, the Broncos crossed midfield with just over a minute left when Javonte Williams caught a short pass from Wilson and charged his way to the Seattle 46.

That put Denver facing fourth down just barely in field-goal range but 5 yards shy of the first-down marker.

Isn’t this why the Broncos sent three players and five picks to Seattle six months ago for Wilson, whom they signed to a megamillion-dollar extension?

“It put us in that weird spot there because we were in the field-goal range but we were in that fourth-down situation,” Hackett said. “Didn’t think we were going to get that many yards, so I thought it was a great job by Javonte. We just made the decision we wanted to take our shot there on that one.”

Hackett decided to take the ball out of his $296 million man’s hands and place his trust in a kicker who is now 1 for 8 from 60-plus yards in his career after Brandon McManus hooked a 64-yard attempt that would been the second-longest field goal in NFL history.

Hackett called timeout with 20 seconds left after letting 43 seconds burn off the clock, then sent McManus out, capping a weekend full of special teams bloopers, bungles and blunders.

Hackett’s call left Troy Aikman and Joe Buck stumped in their “Monday Night Football” booth debut.

“I was surprised by it,” Aikman said. “We were caught off guard with the timeout. Like everybody, we couldn’t quite understand why they were letting so much time come off the clock.”

Summoning Wilson to the sideline showed “that he trusted McManus’ leg more than he trusted Russell Wilson being able to convert there on fourth down,” Aikman argued. “And that will be heavily dissected as we move through the week and it won’t sit well with Russell Wilson.”

Hackett had all three timeouts and 63 seconds left when Williams was tackled 5 yards shy of the first down.

“When they finally do call the timeout with one second left on the play clock and while we’re looking into this camera, they switch and they bring their field-goal team on and it was shocking (to) look down and there’s McManus,” Buck said.

“And they didn’t have to try this desperate field goal,” Buck insisted. “And this is why you make a deal to get Russell Wilson, in my estimation.”

To go for it on fourth-and-5 and at least get McManus closer to a higher-percentage field-goal attempt.

“I think Nathaniel Hackett is going to be a great head coach and that’s going to be a great marriage going forward,” Buck said. “But this this is a weird ending to this game, to say the least.”

And to a wild opening weekend in which kickers, punters, long snappers and holders made an unusual amount of head-turning plays both good and bad.

Saints kicker Wil Lutz kicked a 51-yard field goal with 19 seconds left to beat Atlanta and Browns rookie Code York nailed a 58-yarder with 8 seconds left against Carolina to deny Baker Mayfield’s bid for vengeance.

Randy Bullock pushed a 47-yard field goal wide left as time expired, allowing the Giants to escape with a win over the Titans and the Colts’ Rodrigo Blankenship missed a 42-yard try with 2 minutes left in overtime, resulting in a tie with the Texans.

The wildest and wackiest of games in Week 1 was the Steelers’ 23-20 win at Cincinnati in a game that featured goof-ups by a backup long snapper, two missed field goals and a blocked extra point that sent the game into overtime, where Chris Boswell kicked a 53-yarder as time expired.

Elsewhere, Chiefs safety Justin “Case” Reid, who was an emergency kicker at Stanford, made one of two extra points and blasted a kickoff through the back of the end zone for a touchback before kicker Harrison Butker returned from a rolled ankle in the Chiefs’ rout of the Cardinals.

Buccaneers punter Jake Camarda kicked the ball off the giant video board hanging high over the field at the Cowboys’ stadium, and at swampy Soldier Field, Bears holder Trenton Gill was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taking a towel onto the field and trying to dry the kicking area before a field goal try.

Hackett’s head-scratcher topped all of those, and he stuck with his decision even after McManus missed badly on a field goal try that didn’t count because Seattle called timeout.

“I was happy he got that one out of the way,” Hackett explained. “I thought he had plenty of distance on that one and just thought that we were going to be able to make that. I have confidence in him, and if we have to put him in that situation again, I think he’ll be able to make it.”

Wilson was diplomatic, refusing to publicly criticize his coach’s decision.

“Well, we got the best field goal kicker maybe in the game,” Wilson said. “We said, ‘Where can you make it from tonight? And he said, ’46 left hash.’ I think we were on the 46. That was before the drive. We got it there; unfortunately didn’t go in.

“I think he has the leg for it for sure,” Wilson added. “Just went a little left I believe and just — I believe in Coach Hackett. I believe in what we’re doing. Believe in everything, and any time you can try to find a way to make a play on fourth-and-5, that’s great, too. Also, I don’t think it was the wrong decision. I think he can make it. Obviously hindsight he didn’t make it, but (if) we were in that situation again I wouldn’t doubt whatever he decided.”

___

More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Japan bans export of chemical weapons goods to Russia

TOKYO (AP) — Japan expressed grave concern about Russia’s possible use of nuclear weapons against Ukraine as the top government spokesman on Monday announced an additional ban on exports of chemical weapons-related goods to Russia. “As the world’s only country to have suffered nuclear attacks, we strongly demand that the threat or use of nuclear […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Tax cut plans pull British pound to 4 decade lows

LONDON (AP) — The British pound has resumed a slide against the U.S. dollar that picked up pace last week after the U.K.’s new government outlined plans to cut taxes and boost spending. The pound dipped as low as $1.0349 per U.S. dollar early Monday but then rebounded to $1.0671, down 2.3%. The tax-cut plan […]
23 hours ago
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol answers reporter's question at the presidential office in Seou...
Associated Press

South Korea’s president scolds media over hot mic moment

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Monday accused the country’s media of damaging its alliance with the United States after a TV broadcaster released a video suggesting that he insulted U.S. Congress members following a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in New York last week. MBC caught Yoon […]
23 hours ago
FILE - An Amazon Prime logo appears on the side of a delivery van as it departs an Amazon Warehouse...
Associated Press

Amazon to hold holiday shopping event in October

Amazon said Monday that next month it will hold a second Prime Day-like shopping event, making it the latest major retailer to offer holiday deals earlier this year to entice cautious consumers struggling with tighter budgets. During the Oct. 11-12 event, Amazon Prime members will get early access to discounted items. The “Prime Early Access […]
23 hours ago
FILE -Visitors walk across the Yalu River Broken Bridge, right, next to the Friendship Bridge conne...
Associated Press

Seoul says North Korea, China reopen freight train traffic

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea and China resumed freight train service Monday following a five-month hiatus, South Korean officials said, as the North struggles to revive an economy battered by the pandemic, U.N. sanctions and other factors. The reopening came after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last month made a dubious claim […]
23 hours ago
Victoria Colson, 31, of Tampa loads sandbags into her truck along with other Tampa residents who wa...
Associated Press

Cuba prepares evacuations as strengthening TS Ian nears

HAVANA (AP) — Authorities in Cuba suspended classes in Pinar del Rio province and said they will begin evacuations Monday as Tropical Storm Ian was forecast to strengthen into a hurricane before reaching the western part of the island on its way to Florida. A hurricane warning was in effect for Grand Cayman and the […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Analysis: Nathaniel Hackett head-scratcher caps wild Week 1