Seattle Seahawks Spoil Russell Wilson's Return; Broncos Take Ball Out of Wilson's Hands In Final Drive

The Russell Wilson-Denver Broncos era is off to a shaky 0-1 start after Wilson's return to Seattle was spoiled Monday night.

Kicking off Week 1's Monday Night Football primetime slot, exceptionally called by new ESPN duo Troy Aikman and Joe Buck, the newfound rivalry between Seattle and Denver turned into a feisty competition from the jump, with the Seahawks and Geno Smith proving to have more bite than the football media forecasted.

Heading into the half, Seattle took a surprising 17-10 lead, with Russ and the Broncos sputtering on offense.

Seattle's payback on Wilson was the lead storyline of the much-anticipated matchup for three quarters until Denver's surprising call in their final drive of the fourth.

Denver struggled all night to punch the ball in at the goal-line, botching three attempts and having two of those trips end in turnovers.

Russell's disconnect with his new offensive system was on full display in the fourth as the Broncos desperately tried to claim the lead as Geno and Seattle's offense started to cool down.

Facing a 16-17 deficit, the Broncos and Wilson marched into Seahawks territory and were halted with 20 seconds left in the game, facing a fourth-and-5. Leading up to the fourth down, Wilson was showcasing some poor time management and mindlessly ate up time in the final drive.

Rather than giving Wilson one more crack at a first down, playing from the Seahawks' 45, the Broncos opted to send out kicker Brandon McManus for a 64-yard attempt. The kick fell outside the left upright, and the Seahawks ran out to the clock to complete the upset victory.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Broncos lost their sixth-straight game on Monday night, which is tied with the New York Giants for the longest streak.

"Settling for the 64-yard field goal attempt is wild," said OutKick founder Clay Travis. "What a win for the Seahawks, Pete Carroll and Geno Smith."

Wilson finished with 29-of-42 passing for one touchdown.

Souring Wilson's return to Lumen Field was meaningful to the 12, but the win came at a cost.

Seattle lost veteran safety Jamal Adams in the second quarter, which will prove costly for the Seahawks' defense if he misses time due to his apparent left leg injury.

Seattle's new play-caller, Geno Smith, enjoyed a successful debut as a starter with splash plays both through the air and on the ground.

Starting with 13-for-13 passing, Smith helped the Seahawks ride an offensive momentum in the first half.

Smith completed 23-of-28 passes for two touchdowns and zero turnovers.

"They wrote me off, but I ain't write back," Geno said about exceeding expectations.

"A complete team win," Smith added after the game. "That's what we need all year."

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Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Jeopardy expert and grumpy sports fan. Known for having watched every movie and constant craving for dessert. @alejandroaveela (on X)