NFL

'I let the team down tonight' – Broncos QB Russell Wilson shoulders the blame for ugly loss

By Sports Desk October 07, 2022

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson accepted the lion's share of blame for his side's 12-9 overtime loss at home against the Indianapolis Colts.

Wilson completed 21 of 39 passes for 274 yards and two interceptions in Thursday's game, with the second interception proving especially costly late in the fourth quarter.

With less than two and a half minutes remaining, leading 9-6, the Broncos opted to pass the ball to try to seal the game, but instead Wilson took a shot at the endzone and was picked off by former defensive player of the year Stephon Gilmore.

The Colts ended up driving down the field to tie the game as time expired, before kicking another field goal on the first drive of overtime to put the pressure back on the Broncos.

Wilson completed long passes to Jerry Jeudy and Mike Boone to move inside the 10-yard line, but when faced with a fourth-and-one at the five-yard line, they decided to go for it instead of kicking for the tie.

The final throw of the game was broken up once again by Gilmore in the endzone, relegating the Broncos to a 2-3 record with one of the worst offenses in the NFL in the first year of Wilson's five-year, $242million contract.

Speaking after the game, Wilson did not hide from his struggles, saying he needs to figure it out in a hurry.

"It's very simple, at the end of the day I've got to be better, I've got to play better," he said. "This team, our defense played their butts off tonight, we had some key, good drives and we moved the ball into the red zone, but we didn't get to capitalise on some of them.

"At the end of the day, those two interceptions can't happen. Can't happen. I let the team down tonight, but the good thing is, one thing I know about myself is I'm going to respond – I don't know any other way.

"I always believe in myself, I always believe in this team and what we can do, and what I can do.

"When you play this game, the one thing you know is you're going to go through adversity, and with adversity you get a choice. I'm always going to choose to understand that adversity is just temporary, and you're going to overcome the obstacles and battles.

"We're all working together, we're all still together and focused on trying to do whatever it takes. It starts with me, and I'll make sure I do that."

Touching on the final play, Wilson said it was the right decision to go for it.

"We had a good play-call on, we went to Courtland [Sutton] there and the guy [Gilmore] made a good play," he said.

"I was ready to move around if we needed to – we came up with a big fourth-and-two a couple drives before – so we went for it.

"We didn't want to end in a tie, we wanted to try and win the game. That was our mentality. I think coach made a good call, I think I've got to find a way to make a play, whatever it takes.

"The thing about close games… is it comes down to finding a way. We've found a way before, but this time we didn't."

Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett also accepted blame for Wilson's struggles, saying he needs to figure out how to get his star quarterback into a rhythm and get points on the board.

"We want to always try to get him into a rhythm, and I didn't feel like we were able to get him into that," Hackett said. "It starts with me, to be able to get him into that rhythm with the receivers and tight ends.

"There were a couple of opportunities – we had a couple of drops again, and a couple of penalties – we keep continually hurting ourselves, and I think that's the thing that's frustrating.

"We need to address it as an offense, and we need to fix that, because the performance from the defense was spectacular, and we're wasting those great opportunities to go win a football game."

Hackett also said he did not regret his final play-call, calling it "a good decision".

"We wanted to win the game," he said. "We hadn't moved the ball very well the whole night, and I thought we had a spectacular drive to get all the way down there.

"It ended up being fourth-and-one, we got the 'go' to go for it, and I thought that was a good decision. We wanted to put the ball in Russell's hands and call a play that we know he really likes – and it didn't work out.

"The timeout before was to get a feel for what they were doing, and the run did not look as good as we hoped it would have, and it gave us a chance with Russell. That's all you can ask for in that situation to win the game."

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