Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus missed a 64-yard, game-winning field goal, as the Seattle Seahawks spoiled Russell Wilson’s return on Monday night.
Wilson had the ball in the final minutes of the game, driving down a field he’s won games at during these moments on numerous occasions. But he didn’t get enough yardage to give McManus a better look at the game-winning field goal.
On a fourth-and-five, new head coach Nathaniel Hackett decided to go for the field goal, which would’ve tied the second-longest in NFL history, instead of giving Wilson a shot to gain the five yards to keep it all going.
It had the distance, but the ball keep leaking to the left, and Seattle head coach Pete Carroll celebrated the victory on the sideline as Geno Smith, Wilson’s replacement, kneeled out the upset win.
There was a lot to like about Smith, who started his first game in eight years. He opened up his game with a touchdown drive, an easy score to tight end Will Dissly to make it 7-0.
Smith was very efficient, going 23-for-28 with 195 yards and two touchdowns. He protected the ball, too, with no interceptions.
Wilson had 340 yards on 29-for-42 through the air, but what mattered most is the Broncos’ red zone chances that were awful. Simply put, they should’ve won this game when they had the ball twice on the one-yard line and once on the three-yard line.
They didn’t score a touchdown on those opportunities.
Both running backs, Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams, fumbled at the one and Seattle recovered both. Then, Wilson almost got that eluding touchdown, but his tight end stepped out of bounds with his second foot. He couldn’t find the end zone on the next plays.
It was the first time since 1987 that a team lost two fumbles at the goal line.
Carroll told everyone that he believed in his team despite the loss of Wilson, and that rung true with The 12s, the rabid Seahawks’ fan base, screaming all game long for their new quarterback and disrupting their old one. The fans were certainly a factor, as delay of game penalties came the Broncos’ way on multiple occasions.
Wilson, still searching for that first win, will have to do so in Week 2 when he faces the Houston Texans in Denver.
As for Smith and the Seahawks, they will aim to use their momentum as they head to San Francisco to take on the 49ers, who were also upset against the Chicago Bears in Week 1.