There is only person blaming Brandon McManus for the 19-17 loss to the Texans.
“These guys battled and gave me the chance to win the game, and I was terrible,” McManus said about missing a 51-yard field goal with three seconds left to win the game.
McManus also couldn’t be consoled over the 62-yard kick he missed near the end of the first half either - despite it being a record distance.
“Both kicks, the 62-yarder and the [51-yarder] were both terrible kicks by me,” he said. “I didn’t even give them a chance. Like I said, it’s tough for these guys to fight so hard and just to have two terrible kicks and not even give myself a chance to make them.”
And the kicker wouldn’t even allow a bad snap or wind to become an excuse.
“No, bad kicks,” he said, before correcting, “terrible kicks. Even the 62-yarder, it was terrible.”
Fortunately for McManus, his teammates know one player is never to blame for losing an entire game by himself. The fact that the Broncos were down by two rather than up by one - or even more - proves there were multiple missed opportunities.
“You can go back and find plays later on in the game where we shouldn’t have been in a two-point game. We could have been up and not in that situation,” said rookie wide receiver Courtland Sutton. “There are no pointing fingers. B-Mac is a great kicker. We all know that.”
Justin Simmons placed more blame on himself than on McManus for the situation the Broncos were in.
Simmons said. “Defensively there were some plays that we left out on the field, that I left out on the field, that would have changed the whole situation of the game. That’s what it comes down to.”
“I don’t put that on B-Mac at all. Can he make it? Sure. You know obviously he didn’t, but that’s not on Brandon at all,” Simmons said.
Phillip Lindsay took a more pragmatic “it-is-what-it-is” approach.Philip Lindsay took a more pragmatic “it-is-what-it-is” approach.
“As a kicker, that’s what happens. You’re going to win some and lose some. You hit the game-winner, everybody thinks you’re the greatest thing in the world. When you miss one, everybody wants to [expletive] on you,” he said. “For Brandon, he’s a good dude and he’s going to shake it off. I’m always going to be by his side, no matter what.”
Jeff Heuerman, who had his best NFL game to date with 10 catches for 83 yards and a touchdown, had only words of empathy and encouragement for his teammate.
“Anybody who knows football knows it doesn’t come down to one play,” Heuerman said. “Whether it is offense, defense, or special teams. There were a lot of things we could have done differently that game to win it. Being around the game of football, it never comes down to one play.”
The tight end recalled a game in college where he missed a key block on a fourth down play and Ohio State lost the game.
“They tackled us for a loss and we ended up losing the game,” he said. “Luckily, I had some great coaches and teammates around me. It doesn’t come down to one play. I know how he feels. I’ll take him any day of the week on that kick. He just has to keep his head up. We’ve got some games left.”
And of course Von Miller still has faith in his “guy.”
“The kick at the end of the game, I was confident. From 62 and 50, I’ve got my money on Brandon. He’s our sniper, he’s our brother. It’s one of the hardest positions in pro sports. Sometimes you just can’t put it through the uprights,” Miller said. “But he’s our kicker, I’m totally confident in Brandon. He’s been a total sniper for us. And there were a couple of plays in that game that could’ve changed the outcome of that game. Offense driving down, getting a couple more yards on that run, it’s not a 50-yarder, it’s a 45-yarder. So, it’s a team sport. It’s unfortunate that he didn’t get it. But all of my belief is in Brandon.”
It’s true that that the loss cannot be blamed on one play, but it’s also true that that play was the final opportunity for the win - and Broncos couldn’t capitalize.
But it's definitely true that a coaching decision to kick a highly improbable kick at a point in the game where the risk isn't worth it - or a decision not to stop the clock and attempt to get closer for an easier field goal when scoring is dire - ARE big reasons for the loss.
Still, McManus literally "took one for the team" in defense of his misses.
In the offseason the Broncos made “accountability” their team motto for 2018.
Brandon McManus’ post-game comments show he has a ton of it.