This was the opportunity. The Denver Broncos playing three teams with only two wins in their next four games at the start of today’s actions was supposed to be a chance to correct course on their season.
Assignment No. 1 accomplished
This is how things are supposed to be for the Broncos this season as they ended a four-game losing skid:
Denver Broncos Get Big Performances In Key Areas
K.J Hamler being explosive on deep passes.
A reliable tight end — Sunday it was Greg Dulcich, who caught 4 passes for 87 yards.
An aggressive defense that delivers turnovers and late-game heroics. The Broncos got an interception from Justin Simmons at the goal line early and a K’Waun Williams interception to snuff out Jacksonville’s attempt at a comeback.
This one even had good game management from Denver coach Nathaniel Hackett, who went for it on fourth-and-1 with 36 seconds to play and got the conversion to seal the victory.
And most importantly, quarterback Russell Wilson made plays with his arm and his legs, particularly in the second half and when the game was at stake.
“Hopefully this catapults us to where we want to go,” Wilson said on the broadcast afterward. “We just need a little momentum. We got a lot of season left.”
Wilson completed 18 of 30 passes for 252 yards with 1 TD and 1 interception. There were two drops by Denver receivers.
This game in London seems like an opportunity to correct course on this season for the Broncos.
“It gets the spark back up,” said Hamler, who caught 2 passes for 52 yards.
The Broncos in general and Wilson in particular have been the object of much attention and even ridicule early this season as they started with a 2-5 record and lost four consecutive games.
Much of that has been warranted because the team as well as its $245 million quarterback have struggled through injuries, lack of discipline, poor play-calling and not enough playmaking.
Russell Wilson Criticism Have Felt Personal
But some of that has been strangely personal.
Wilson reportedly spent much of his time on the flight to London doing high knee exercises in the aisles so as to stretch out a hamstring injury that he suffered the two weeks ago and kept him out of last week’s game against the New York Jets.
Wilson has a partial tear to the hamstring, as reported by NFL Network.
But Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker on the Ravens’ flight home from Tampa after a Thursday night game’s mocked Wilson’s work to try to get better and back in the lineup.
Let me say Tucker is a good guy and one of the best at his job in the league. But he’s a kicker, folks.
The next time an edge rusher who weighs 280 pounds and runs a 4.5 tries to tackle him will be the first time. The next time he kicks with a partially torn hamstring will gain him respect not ridicule.
Wilson, meanwhile, used his legs in key moments this game. He had, for example, a fourth-quarter run to convert a first down and extend the game-winning drive.
So let’s keep perspective. The criticism has been a little crazy.
The critics will likely hit mute on that now but for how long depends on the team.
General manager George Paton has been taking phone calls from multiple teams the past few weeks seeking to pluck talent off the Denver roster.
The jewel there would be for edge rusher Bradley Chubb, who is the team’s defensive anchor. And it’s obvious the Broncos, without a first-round pick in the next draft, are considering everything.
So does Paton sell?
Does he basically raise a white flag on the remainder of the season when his star quarterback after this game said there is a lot of season yet to play?
The answer will be interesting to see.