MERILATT MONDAY

Russell Wilson has his teammates believing that anything is possible

Nov 20, 2023, 4:00 AM


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Belief is a powerful thing. In sports, it can propel athletes and teams to heights they probably shouldn’t reach. It can allow them to achieve things they shouldn’t be able to do.

For 16 years, Broncos fans witnessed this firsthand during the 1980s and ’90s. From 1983-98, John Elway pulled off one miraculous victory after another. His late-game heroics became the stuff of legend. And they helped propel Denver to five Super Bowls during his Hall-of-Fame career.

While talent certainly helped No. 7 perform in the clutch, belief was also a big part of the equation. On both sides of the ball.

Elway’s teammates knew he’d come through when the came was on the line. And the opposing defense thought so too. Inevitably, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy for both sides.

The Broncos knew it was going to happen. Their opponents did too. So it wasn’t surprising when it happened again and again and again.

But that belief didn’t just come from nowhere. There were reasons for it to exist. There was evidence that it was going to happen.

For Elway, the genesis was on Dec. 11, 1983. That’s the day he threw three fourth-quarter touchdowns to overcome a 19-point deficit against the Colts. That’s the moment he proved to his teammates that the Broncos were never out of a game when he was behind center.

Once he demonstrated that it was possible, there was no turning back. From that day forward, it was always in the cards. The Broncos always had a shot, so long as there was time on the clock and Elway was on the field.

A similar moment happened on Sunday night. In a thrilling, come-from-behind win over the Vikings, Russell Wilson proved that he has some fourth-quarter magic, too. The Broncos quarterback showed that he can make miracles happen late in games.

On a night when Denver’s offense sputtered, managing just five field goals during the first 58 minutes of the game, Wilson saved his best for last. The QB hit Courtland Sutton for a 15-yard touchdown pass with 1:03 to play to give the Broncos a 21-20 lead, capping a 10-play, 75-yard drive.

With the game on the line, Wilson delivered. It didn’t matter what he did up to that point. It all came down to that moment. And the quarterback answered the bell.

His emotions were caught on camera. The “Sunday Night Football” broadcast didn’t miss it.

Wilson was fired up. His teammates were fired up. And Broncos Country should be fired up.

Yes, it took longer than anyone could’ve expected for Wilson to develop into a playmaker in Denver. Last season was a debacle. And the first six weeks of this year were too. But it’s finally happened.

A week ago, Wilson led the Broncos on a game-winning drive to beat the Bills in Buffalo. Last night, he engineered another game-winning march.

In the process, he created something that is invaluable. And it makes the Broncos a very dangerous team.

“We just believe in each other,” Wilson said after the game. “We knew we were going to win this game.”

Belief. It’s a powerful thing. And the Broncos now have it.

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Russell Wilson has his teammates believing that anything is possible