Even in the thin air of Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Vance Joseph's choice to have Brandon McManus attempt a 62-yard field goal with 23 seconds left in the first half on Sunday was a risky one. The Texans were up 13-10 with two timeouts left, and a punt likely would have resulted in the Texans taking a knee and a three-point lead into the locker room.
Instead, McManus missed wide right, leaving 18 seconds on the clock. The Texans responded with completions to Ryan Griffin and DeAndre Hopkins to set up a 46-yard field goal attempt, which they made to give the Texans a 16-10 lead over the Broncos at the half.
After the game, Joseph half-heartedly defended his decision to have McManus attempt the long field goal, before suggesting that it may have been a bit overly ambitious.
"McManus has been really good for us. At the half, that's on me," he said, via CBS Denver. "I was trying to get greedy there and get three more points."
With the Broncos ultimately losing 19-17, the point swing ended up being huge. The 3-6 Broncos have lost six of their last seven games, with their lone win being against the woeful Cardinals.
It looked like Texans' head coach Bill O'Brien had some choice words for Joseph heading into the locker room at halftime, but O'Brien said that that's a misunderstanding.
"I was yelling at someone on our field goal unit," O'Brien told Pro Football Talk. "I wouldn't say that about another head coach." As the always-popular "NFL Bad Lip Reading" videos prove, O'Brien could well be telling the truth.
At the end of Sunday's game, the Broncos had a chance to win on a 51-yard attempt from McManus, which he missed to the right again. The Broncos gave the ball to Phillip Lindsay with under 15 seconds left in the game, and when he was stacked up the Broncos were forced to let the clock run before burning their final timeout with three seconds left.
"It was gut-wrenching for our guys," Joseph said via CBS Denver of the loss. "I want to win for them."