From Kansas City’s 44-yard line, Gary Kubiak had a choice to make on fourth-and-10 with the game locked up in a 27-27 tie late in overtime.
Kubiak could have gone for it. He could have punted. Instead, the Denver coach sent Brandon McManus out for a 62-yard, game-winning field goal try.
McManus’ 62-yard swing wasn’t close. It was short and wide left. The Chiefs got the ball back in prime field position because of the miss, promptly marched down to the Denver 16-yard line and booted their own field goal to win a pivotal AFC West game in Denver.
“The fact that we had no timeouts probably made it — made me want to go in that direction,” Kubiak said after the game. “If you did have your timeouts, maybe, maybe you think about punting it down there and see if you can get the ball back. I don’t know. But we’re going to try to win, and I’ve seen B-Mac do that many times in practice.”
“It’s on me,” Kubiak added. “I just gave him a chance, thought we could do it, but we didn’t get it done. Give them credit.”
The safe play for Kubiak obviously was to punt. With the Chiefs struggling to move the football for most of the night and less than a minute and a half left on the clock, a punt would have almost certainly guaranteed at least a tie for the Broncos. Yet Kubiak played for the win, something he looked at peace with after the loss.
“My thing is we’re going to try to win around here and I made that decision and it just didn’t work out,” Kubiak said. “But I got a lot of confidence in Brandon, a lot of confidence in our football team. That’s why I made that decision.”