Nathaniel Hackett is getting his first taste of what it means to be a head coach in the National Football League.
The first-year head coach of the Denver Broncos chose to let the clock wind down with under a minute to go against the Seattle Seahawks Monday night, sending kicker Brandon McManus onto the field to attempt a 64-yard field goal.
The field goal attempt sailed left – giving Seattle a 17-16 victory – and the decision to send the field goal unit on the field was immediately questioned.
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The call came after a 9-yard completion from Russell Wilson to Javonte Williams, setting up a 4th-and-5 at the Seattle 46-yard-line. With three timeouts in hand, Hackett chose to let the clock run before Wilson called a timeout with 20 seconds left on the game clock.
“We were right on the line, and he had plenty of distance,” Hackett said after the loss. “He just missed it. Brandon gave it his best shot. That’s a long field goal to hit.”
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“Obviously, I wish we would have gotten a lot closer, it put us in that weird spot because we were in that field goal range but we were on that fourth down situation… We just made that decision and take our shot there.”
Wilson, who threw for 340 yards and a touchdown in his return to Seattle, backed his head coach’s decision.
“We got the best field goal kicker maybe in the game,” Wilson said.
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“I believe in coach Hackett, I believe in what we’re doing, I believe in everything,” Wilson continued. “Anytime you can try to find a play on 4th-and-5, that’s great too. But I don’t think it was the wrong decision… If we’re in the situation again, I wouldn’t doubt whatever he decided.”
Wilson was loudly booed in his return to Seattle after being traded to the Broncos for five draft picks and three players in March.
“It didn’t bother me,” Wilson said. “This is a hostile environment; it always has been. I didn’t expect them to give a round of applause every once in a while. I gave everything I had here every day, every day, and anybody that says anything else, they’re completely wrong.”