Broncos-Seahawks Game's Seriously Wild Ending Kicks Off the Jokes

Let your new $161 million quarterback cook or try a 64-yard field goal? Denver's answer might surprise you.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
3 min read
Quarterback Russell Wilson looking off to the left in white Broncos jersey. Head coach Nathaniel Hackett is in the background looking dejected.

Russell Wilson and Nathaniel Hackett didn't have the best Monday night.

Getty/Steph Chambers

Monday Night Football sent the Denver Broncos, who recently acquired nine-time Pro Bowl Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, to Seattle to kick off both teams' seasons. And Seahawks fans can be forgiven for thinking they were likely to lose to their former star, who beat the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII back in 2014.

But then the Monday night game happened, and if you missed the ending, find it on video somewhere and see if you can figure out just what new Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett was thinking.

Wilson's former understudy, quarterback Geno Smith, led the Seahawks to a 17-13 lead at halftime. But as the game wound down, Seattle was up by only one point. Wilson has made a career out of staying calm and making last-minute comebacks when necessary. Surely the Broncos would hand its new multi-million-dollar man the ball and stay out of his way?

Not. Tonight. With less than a minute left on the clock, it wasn't Wilson who had the game to win or lose on fourth down. Instead, the Broncos sent him to the sidelines and let kicker Brandon McManus try a 64-yard field goal. He missed. 

Let's go to the memes.

New coach is off to a ... start

This was the first game for the Broncos' Hackett, and it was a biggie -- Monday night, national TV audience, going into the lion's den of his new QB's former home stadium. But after that ending, fans were not gentle.

"Can you fire a coach after one game?" was a common sentiment.

Numerous tweets referenced Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who's often been criticized for mismanaging the game clock.

And some referenced former Broncos coach Vic Fangio.

Let Russ ... Look?

The Seahawks once tried to make the slogan "Let Russ Cook" take off. But this time, Wilson could only look from the sidelines. Fans noticed.

"Russell Wilson complaining his way out of Seattle only to get benched in favor of his new coach trying the second longest field goal in history is objectively hysterical," wrote one Twitter user.

And former Seahawk Richard Sherman delivered a sly dig, referencing the Seahawks' last-second loss in Super Bowl XLIX in 2015, when a Wilson pass was intercepted at the goal line.

Kicking it

McManus' final field-goal attempt was from a whopping 64 yards (58 meters). He usually kicks in Mile-High Denver, where the high altitude's thinner air can actually help kicks soar. But here he was in Seattle, just 175 feet (53 meters) above sea level. Whoops. (Actually, the kick looked to have the distance, but it was wide.)

"Did the Broncos forget to factor in that they are not playing 5,000 feet above sea level when asking their kicker to make the second-longest kick in NFL history?" asked Rodger Sherman of The Ringer.

Time out time

Hackett also took criticism for using the team's timeouts for seemingly no reason as the game seemed to be already over.

"Ok but am I the only one still wondering why Hackett was calling time out with the game literally over?" said one Twitter user. "If anyone has an answer please let me know."

What a homecoming

In the end, some fans were just happy their former star didn't come back to town and beat them handily.

"I don't care if Seahawks lose all other games but this win is the most I wanted this season," one wrote.