Nathaniel Hackett’s game management in Broncos loss stuns Peyton Manning

The last seconds of Opening of the season of “Monday Night Football” between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks was stressful to watch. And that doesn’t begin to describe how the Hall of Fame quarterback who led the Broncos to his most recent Super Bowl victory felt about it.

Peyton Manning’s reaction was on view live during ESPN’s “Manningcast” with her brother Eli and special guest Shannon Sharpe. They watched with reactions ranging from disbelief to quiet horror as Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett, in his first game as NFL head coach, took the ball out of Russell Wilson’s hands with the game on the line.

Brewer: Russell Wilson wanted a celebration. He left Seattle with boos and a loss.

Rather than allow Wilson, the former Seahawks quarterback for whom the Broncos traded three players and a slew of draft picks to Seattle in March, to try to convert on fourth-and-five of Seattle’s 46, Hackett let the game clock tick down, then took one of his three remaining timeouts with 20 seconds remaining. on the game clock and sent out Brandon McManus for a game-winning 64-yard field goal. The ball went wide to the left, sending the Broncos home on the wrong end of a 17-16 scoreline.

The entire series was maddening for Peyton Manning. “I think we should call a timeout, like, now,” he said, squirming in his chair with just over 50 seconds left in the game.

Sharpe, the former Broncos tight end, was the Mannings’ guest late in the game and was losing his mind, mainly because Wilson wasn’t targeting … the tight end. He yelled at one point, almost cursing and causing Eli Manning to worry, “Shannon is making me nervous.”

It was a baffling head-coaching debut for Hackett, who opted not to put the ball in the hands of a nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback and one-time Super Bowl winner, the guy the team gave a contract extension to. five years and $245 million. this month.

What to know from week 1 of the NFL: The Chiefs are doing well. The Patriots sure don’t.

Instead of asking Wilson, who had thrown for 340 yards, to throw (or rush) for five more, he opted for a kicker whose career best field goal was 61 yards. It’s almost work.

“He got this. He got this,” Sharpe said before the kick, noting that McManus’ first kick attempt before Seattle called a timeout had hooked. When he failed, he added: “I told them to start him in the correct upright position and he would hook right away.”

Eli Manning noted: “Shannon is undefeated in calling what they should have done.”

Sharpe responded, “Eli, you heard me say, ‘Start vertical right,’ because he hooked the first one, so start right. But he didn’t kick it off enough.”

Peyton Manning watched silently, letting her flagging body language tell the story along with a rueful smile and a shake of her head. As the brothers said their goodbyes, he predicted, “The Broncos are going to be fine.”

Earlier on the show, he gave the kickers a little dig when Eli Manning asked when they had their position meetings. “They don’t,” Peyton joked. “There are no meeting rooms for kickers. They do not exist.

On ESPN’s broadcast of the game, analyst Troy Aikman predicted that the endgame sequence “won’t sit well with Russell Wilson.” and ESPN Ryan Clark tweeted“I’m not going to pay $256 million to let my kicker kick a 64-yard field goal on the 4th and 5th.”

But Wilson, who was booed in his first game at Lumen Field, was diplomatic about the whole thing, praising McManus as “perhaps the best field goal kicker in the game.”

Nor was he going to fire Hackett, hired after two seasons as Green Bay’s offensive coordinatorunder a bus.

“I believe in Coach Hackett,” he said. “I believe in what we are doing. I believe in everything. Anytime you can try to find a way to make a play on fourth and five, that’s great too. But also, I don’t think it was a wrong decision. I think you can do it. Obviously, in hindsight, we didn’t make it. But if we’re in that situation again, I wouldn’t doubt what he decides.”

Leave a Comment