Brandon McManus already had a career game against the New England Patriots on Sunday and had no desire to take a chance to make it even better.
After setting a franchise record with six field goals in a game and hitting from 45, 44, 27, 52, 20 and 54 yards, it looked like the Broncos kicker might have a chance to go 7 for 7 with a third kick of 50-plus yards. Denver coach Vic Fangio decided to punt instead, a decision that was fine with his kicker even after he became the franchise’s career leader in field goals made from 50 yards or longer.
“I’ve been a football fan growing up as a kid. I like to play the percentages to win. If I miss that, they have the ball at midfield and definitely have momentum,” McManus said. “I really wasn’t itching at all to go out there. Obviously, if I got the call to go out there, I would have put my best foot forward to try and make it, but I wasn’t itching at all, to be honest with you.”
Though, with the way McManus was kicking, he gave his coach something to think about.
“I thought hard about letting him try for the seventh one there — it would’ve been 57 or 58,” Fangio recalled. “If he had missed, I didn’t want to give them the good field position and jump-start their offense there. I don’t regret the decision.”
Had things gone a bit differently, Fangio could’ve needed those points. After a kick-catch interference flag on the ensuing punt, the Patriots needed just five plays to go 65 yards for a touchdown that made it 18-9. New England then picked off Drew Lock and turned it into a field goal. Another interception nine seconds after Nick Folk’s kick gave New England a chance to go ahead late, but the Broncos defense got a crucial stop.
While another field goal would’ve made McManus’ fantasy coaches even happier — something he joked about in a postgame tweet — the Broncos kicker was happy to stop at six makes and a couple of records.
“To me, I’ve made one kick 57 yards and over,” McManus said. “You’ve got to play the percentages.”