There’s a reason the Denver Broncos agreed on Monday to pay Brandon McManus, who was named a team captain last week, a guaranteed $6 million as part of a reported $11.254 million contract extension. Kicking field goals in the NFL is no easy task.

Just ask McManus, who on Monday also missed a 50-yard attempt that would have given his team a six-point cushion over the Los Angeles Chargers late in the fourth quarter.

Or you could ask Chargers rookie kicker Younghoe Koo, who with :08 remaining nailed what appeared to be a game-tying 44-yard kick. Only Broncos first-year head coach had called timeout just moments before, forcing a second attempt by the 23-year-old from Georgia Southern.

While McManus’ kick sailed wide, Koo’s miss was much more forceful as Broncos defensive end Shelby Harris collapsed the line, elevated and blocked the kick to preserve a 24-21 Broncos victory. It was the second time in as many years the Broncos have won on opening night thanks to an unsuccessful field goal at the end of regulation.

In 2016, Graham Gano missed a 50-yard attempt in the closing seconds of the game and the Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 21-20 to open the NFL season. On Monday they closed the NFL’s Week 1 with just as much drama.

The Broncos’ faith in McManus was not misguided, although it did not fully manifest itself (minus his three successful PATs and a 20-yard chip shot that proved to be the difference in the game). Entering Monday night’s contest, McManus was 8-for-15 in his career on attempts of 50 yards or more. His 82.9 percent average on field goals entering the game ranked first all time among Broncos kickers with at least 20 attempts, although his 1-for-2 night on Monday will drop him a few percentage points below Matt Prater for that mark.

Denver was successful on special teams in other regards in the victory, including a robust 48.0 yards per kick average for punter Riley Dixon. The second-year kicker downed a pair of balls inside the 20 thanks to some solid coverage by Cody Latimer.

The special teams star, Latimer, also returned a kickoff for 36 yards after a Chargers touchdown but had his efforts negated by a Jamaal Charles fumble two plays later. Denver actually lost the turnover battle, committing a pair in the fourth quarter that nearly cost them the game.

An bobbled interception on a screen pass from Trevor Siemian intended for Benny Fowler led to a Chargers touchdown. The Charles fumble was followed one play later by a 38-yard strike from Philip Rivers to Travis Benjamin to bring Los Angeles within three and set up Koo’s eventual miss.

Rookie Isaiah McKenzie had three punt returns for Denver for an average of 16 yards. He impressed with a 31-yard return on his first touch, then later made a questionable grab of the ball as it was about to be downed by the Chargers. He escaped unscathed, but like Koo, the rookie learned that things in the NFL can be a little trickier on special teams.

Even a special teams captain like McManus knows that.