Broncos’ coaching experiment pays off in week three of FMIA.

Broncos' coaching experiment pays off in week three of FMIA.
Broncos’ coaching experiment pays off in week three of FMIA.

With 12:48 left in the fourth quarter on Sunday night against San Francisco, the grand Nathaniel Hackett experiment was about to face its first significant test. 10-5 was the Niners’ lead. Denver quarterback Russell Wilson sprinted for what appeared to be between six and a half and a foot short of the first down at the Bronco 35, needing seven yards for a first down. However, when he fell, Wilson had already extended his arm with the ball extremely close to the 35.

In his three weeks as an NFL head coach, Hackett has experienced three years of clock, judgment, and timeout issues. For this reason, last Tuesday, he made the unusual choice to appoint retired special teams coach Jerry Rosburg as his senior assistant and in-game decision-making. Rosburg now had to advise his boss on one of two options.

Hackett overheard Rosburg’s voice saying, “It’s a value challenge.” Denver attempted to challenge but was unsuccessful; had Wilson crossed the goal line, though, it would have been significant. However, that did not happen on the field of play. Strange rule, but the ball is placed where it is on the playing field when the knee touches the ground. Wilson was unmistakably small.

Second decision: Should Denver punt or go for fourth-and-one with a five-point deficit and subpar offensive performance? Rosburg suggested punting, and Hackett concurred. The Broncos punted because their defense was doing too well to take a chance on failing at fourth-and-short. When they regained possession, Wilson led Denver 80 yards for the game-winning score. At least on this particular night, everything will be okay.

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