Don’t blame Russ for the Broncos loss to the Raiders on Sunday

Sep 10, 2023, 7:32 PM

The Broncos 17-16 loss to the Raiders was putridly frustrating, but it wasn’t Russell Wilson’s fault. Russ did exactly what he was coached to do.

Sean Payton was brought in to fix him. He looked fixed.

Averaging 5.2 yards per completion is a sure path to mistake free, boring football. That style, which again is exactly how Wilson was coached all training camp, mustered 16 points which stunningly is less points than the Broncos averaged last year as the lowest scoring team in the NFL.

Seventeen of Wilson’s 27 completions went to non-wide receivers. Again, that is not a surprise. This is exactly what we saw all training camp.

The Broncos held more value in the blocking abilities of Nate Adkins than the big play potential of Albert Okwuegbunam. That’s exactly what was delivered as Adkins wasn’t even activated for the game.

It wasn’t Russ’ fault.

Wilson didn’t make Sean Payton dump Brandon McManus because BMac was what… feisty? Wilson didn’t tell Payton to rehabilitate Brett Maher all camp just to dump him for a trade for Wil Lutz. It wasn’t Russ’ fault that Maher and McManus were seven-of-seven on extra points for their new clubs.

Nope. That had nothing to do with Wilson.

Russ was sacked twice. No biggie. He didn’t have any turnovers. Cool. He threw two touchdown passes. Awesome. His completion percentage was 79 percent! Amazing. This is what the coaches wanted and this is what they got.

The problem is it’s practically impossible to win in the NFL playing this style. It certainly doesn’t help when Russ’ teammates can’t figure out where they are in relation to the sideline. Here’s a hint – it’s painted white.

Don’t blame Russ.

When the Broncos got the ball in their hands in the fourth quarter down a point with 6:34 left, it was fair to expect that all the issues of the past would be washed away in a beautiful comeback.

Javonte Williams lost a yard

Russ underthrew Courtland Sutton

A completed pass to Adam Trautman came up three yards short of a first down.

The Broncos punted.

Wilson wouldn’t touch the ball the rest of the game. It was Denver’s only three-and-out of the day and it couldn’t have come at a worse time.

I guess you can kind of blame Russ for that one.

In the end, a QB who is getting $28 million this year who is coached by a coach who is making $18 million this year can’t be blamed for being assessed as a player not to be trusted in throwing the ball down the field.

This, therefore and herewith, will be known as the Wilson conundrum. What it takes to fix Russ is also inhibiting to get the best out of him. So, what exactly is Sean Payton to do?

Perhaps the answer is obvious.

Get a new kicker.



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Don’t blame Russ for the Broncos loss to the Raiders on Sunday