Vance Joseph’s ill-advised field goal try proves costly
Vance Joseph’s ill-advised decision to attempt an extremely long field goal before halftime proved costly in the Denver Broncos’ 19-17 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Denver had a 4th-and-9 at the Houston 44 with 22 seconds left late in the second quarter with his team down 13-10. They had three options: punt, attempt a field goal, or go for it. Joseph decided to attempt a 62-yard field goal.
Brandon McManus badly missed the kick wide right, giving the ball back to the Texans with 18 seconds left in excellent field position at the Denver 48. They had two timeouts and enough time to run two pass plays — completing both for 20 yards — to move to the Denver 28. They set themselves up for a 46-yard field goal that Ka’imi Fairbairn made to increase the team’s lead to 16-10.
Attempting a 62-yard field goal is a low percentage kick and therefore not often attempted because it leaves the opposing team in great field position if you miss. They’re worth a shot if time is expiring at the end of a half, but otherwise they’re extremely risky. With 22 seconds left in the half, there was too much time left for the Broncos to try such a long kick. Joseph should have punted, and I was shocked he didn’t. Had he punted, the Broncos likely would have entered the half down 13-10 rather than 16-10.
Denver’s defense was stout in the second half, holding the Texans to a field goal. The offense scored a touchdown, while McManus missed a 51-yard kick to end the game as a loss for the Broncos.
In a game the Broncos lost by two points, it’s hard not to look at Joseph’s terrible decision before halftime that handed the Texans an excellent opportunity for 3 points as a big difference in the game. Decisions like that will likely factor into Joseph’s potential firing.