There were only 16 drives in 2022 that started with a FG that was either missed or blocked from 55 yards away or longer. There were 79 FGs attempted from 55 of longer in 2022. The success rate on these FG attempts was 60.8% (48 of 79). See the table below for all attempts from > 54 yards in 2022.
Former Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus hit one of five in 2022 (his made attempt was from 55 was in the win over the 49ers). His misses were from 56 (2x), 63 and 64. The miss from 64 ended the game (and would have won the opener against the Seahawks). The first miss from 56 in the loss to the Jets. The Jets drive following that miss resulted in a punt.
The next long miss was in the loss to the Panthers. It was at the end of the half so there was no harm in attempting it. The last long miss was in the loss to the Ravens. It was from 63 and similar to the miss vs the Seahawks, it was at the end of the game and would have won it for the Broncos. So McManus had two chances to win games at the end for the Broncos in 2022 and failed on both. With only eight missed FG attempts in 2022 it’s easy to see if any of those those other misses would have won the game for the Broncos.
Two of his eight missed FGs were blocked - one from 34 (in the loss to the Colts) and one from 25 (in the second loss to the Raiders). Below is a list of all eight misses.
The miss/block against the Raiders was at the end of the first half. The opponent drives after those other three misses resulted in a punt, an interception, and a FG (vs the Cardinals). So for the 2022 Broncos, missed FGs generally did not result in opponent points on the ensuing drive (if not at end of half), but what about other teams in 2022?
In 2022 of the 31 missed FGs in 2022 from 55 or longer, 15 happened at the end of the half or end of the game so the opponent did not get the ball back with any time.
Since we have already analyzed two of them, there are only 29 missed or blocked attempts left to analyze. So let’s do that - analyze the rest of the failed decisions in 2022 in the regular season to attempt FGs from 55 or longer.
|Date||Tm||H or A||Opp||Result||Player||Dist||Good?||Blk?||Drive After Result|
|9/11/2022||PIT||@||CIN||W 23-20||Chris Boswell||55||N||N||punt|
|9/11/2022||ATL||NOR||L 26-27||Younghoe Koo||63||N||Y||end of game|
|9/12/2022||DEN||@||SEA||L 16-17||Brandon McManus||64||N||N||end of game|
|9/25/2022||MIN||DET||W 28-24||Greg Joseph||56||N||N||touchdown|
|9/25/2022||MIN||DET||W 28-24||Greg Joseph||56||N||N||touchdown|
|9/26/2022||DAL||@||NYG||W 23-16||Brett Maher||59||N||N||end of half|
|10/2/2022||NOR||MIN||L 25-28||Wil Lutz||61||N||N||end of game|
|10/16/2022||DAL||@||PHI||L 17-26||Brett Maher||59||N||N||end of game|
|10/16/2022||BAL||@||NYG||L 20-24||Justin Tucker||56||N||N||touchdown|
|10/23/2022||DEN||NYJ||L 9-16||Brandon McManus||56||N||N||punt|
|10/23/2022||CLE||@||BAL||L 20-23||Cade York||60||N||Y||punt|
|10/27/2022||BAL||@||TAM||W 27-22||Justin Tucker||61||N||Y||end of half|
|10/30/2022||MIN||ARI||W 34-26||Greg Joseph||56||N||Y||punt|
|10/30/2022||GNB||@||BUF||L 17-27||Mason Crosby||55||N||N||end of game|
|11/6/2022||BUF||@||NYJ||L 17-20||Tyler Bass||55||N||N||end of half|
|11/20/2022||CHI||@||ATL||L 24-27||Cairo Santos||56||N||N||FG|
|11/27/2022||ATL||@||WAS||L 13-19||Younghoe Koo||58||N||N||end of half|
|11/27/2022||BAL||@||JAX||L 27-28||Justin Tucker||67||N||N||end of game|
|11/27/2022||LVR||@||SEA||W 40-34||Daniel Carlson||56||N||N||punt|
|11/27/2022||DEN||@||CAR||L 10-23||Brandon McManus||56||N||N||end of half|
|11/28/2022||IND||PIT||L 17-24||Chase McLaughlin||59||N||Y||end of half|
|12/4/2022||NYG||WAS||T 20-20||Graham Gano||58||N||N||end of game|
|12/4/2022||DEN||@||BAL||L 9-10||Brandon McManus||63||N||N||end of game|
|12/4/2022||KAN||@||CIN||L 24-27||Harrison Butker||55||N||N||game ending drive|
|12/8/2022||LAR||LVR||W 17-16||Matt Gay||61||N||N||FG|
|12/11/2022||TAM||@||SFO||L 7-35||Ryan Succop||55||N||N||punt|
|12/18/2022||NYJ||DET||L 17-20||Greg Zuerlein||58||N||N||end of game|
|12/24/2022||BAL||ATL||W 17-9||Justin Tucker||55||N||Y||downs|
|1/1/2023||NYJ||@||SEA||L 6-23||Greg Zuerlein||57||N||N||FG|
|1/8/2023||NYJ||@||MIA||L 6-11||Greg Zuerlein||55||N||N||FG|
|1/8/2023||NOR||CAR||L 7-10||Wil Lutz||55||N||Y||FG|
For most coaches, FG attempts from 55 or longer are only attempted at the end of the half or in end of game situations (at least they were in 2022). Only 18 teams even attempted a FG from 55 or longer in 2022, meaning that about half the league didn’t even try one. Four kickers accounted for about one third of all of the extra long FG attempts in 2022: Justin Tucker, Greg Zuerlein, Matt Gay and Daniel Carlson. Those four combined to hit on 17 of 26 from 55 or longer - 65%.
On drives after the 16 missed or blocked long FG attempts in 2022 that were not end of half or game, eight resulted in scoring drives by the opponent (3 TD, 5 FG) while six resulted in punts. In most of these 16 the head coach had to decide between a Hail-Mary pass or a long FG attempt.
Hail-Mary passes have a much much lower success rate than 55 or longer FG attempts. Since the start of the 2000 season, there have been 643 FG attempts from 55 or longer and 299 of them have been successful (46.6%). If we restrict it to the last ten regular seasons, the success rate on FGs from 55 or longer is 52.2%.
The success rate on Hail-Mary passes in the NFL was found to be roughly 10% a few years ago. While not all NFL FG kickers can make one from 55, similarly not all NFL QB have the arm to get the ball into the endzone with it spotted on the opponent’s 38. So the head coach may have little choice in the matter.
Of course there are other options on 4th down from the +38 with plenty of time remaining, punting or going for it. The decision to punt, try a FG, or go for it depends on the weather, the prowess of the offense, the prowess of the kicker and the stones of the coach. The feel or momentum of the game can also play a role. In 2022 there were only 15 punts from inside the opponent 39. The Panthers had the most with three “no guts” punts. They punted from the Bucs 38, the Lions 37 and the Falcons 35. In the game against the Lions, the Panthers were up 34-13 in the 4th quarter and chose to punt instead of trying a FG. In the game against the Bucs, the Panthers chose to punt from the Bucs 38 was 1:11 left to play in the 4th while leading 21-3. This was another kill the clock move. The only one that doesn’t make a who lot of sense for the Panthers was choosing to punt from the Falcon 35 while leading 3-0 with 7:53 left to play in the second quarter. Later in that same quarter the Panther kicker, Eddy Piniero, would hit from 49. Piniero hit from 54 in 2022, so he obviously has the ability to hit from 55, but maybe it was too windy at that point in the game to try one from 55. The weather at kickoff was 12 mph winds.
The Broncos did not punt from inside the opponent 39 last season. As we learned after the season-opening loss to the Seahawks, McManus convinced Nathaniel Hackett that he could hit from 64. While maybe he can in practice, he has never done so in a game. His career long is 61.