Russell Wilson had one of his best games in a Denver Broncos (3-7) uniform, and it still didn’t result in a W.
The Broncos were up 10-0 on the Las Vegas Raiders (3-7) and the offense was clicking on a day when head coach Nathaniel Hackett relinquished his playcalling duties to QB coach Klint Kubiak. After halftime, Denver only mustered six points and the ordinarily stout defense disintegrated against Derek Carr and company.
Josh Jacobs was wide open on a wheel route to help force overtime, then Davante Adams was somehow left all alone for the game-winning touchdown and a dramatic 22-16 win in Colorado. Denver never saw the ball on offense in overtime, and the Raiders have pulled off the sweep that puts the Broncos in last place in the AFC West.
This is the second week in a row and the third time this season the Broncos have jumped out to a 10-0 lead, failed to score a 2nd half touchdown, and come away with a loss. They’ve also had three overtime games and lost them all. For the Raiders (3-7), this was a badly needed win given Josh McDaniels has come under fire for the team’s lackluster performance, not to mention Derek Carr’s struggles coming up clutch in close games.
As for Wilson, he was 24/31 for 247 yards, no touchdowns, no turnovers, and just three sacks taken as opposed to the six the week before against the Tennessee Titans. I’d say that’s good given the lack of healthy receivers and offensive linemen. On Denver’s opening drive Wilson was 3/3 for 63 yards and engineered a 92-yard touchdown drive capped off by a short Latavius Murray run.
If you saw any of the game on NFL RedZone, there was a considerable amount of accurate Russ and Russ Magic even with a depleted offensive roster.
And yet, the Broncos were 3/12 on 3rd down, punted four times out of seven possessions in the 2nd half, and for all of the criticisms of Russell taking bad sacks, there was a critical 3rd down play in which a sack was preferred.
With the Raiders out of timeouts and faced with 3rd and 10 after the two-minute warning, they needed a stop or else the game was gone. The Broncos called a passing play, and with no one open Wilson threw an incomplete pass. That saved about 40 seconds for the Raiders when a sack would’ve been perfectly acceptable to keep the clock rolling.
Nathaniel Hackett said he wanted the clock to run on the 3rd down when Russell Wilson threw the ball away— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) November 21, 2022
The Raiders got the ball back with 1:43 left down 16-13 when it could’ve been about 1:03 or less with a sack taken. You know what happened after that.
There was also a pivotal sequence before halftime in which the Broncos were in position to at least go up 13-7 if not 17-7 heading into the break. Instead, Melvin Gordon fumbled for the umpteenth time this season and turned a potential 3rd down conversion at the Raiders 2-yard line into a field goal attempt. That chipshot field goal was blocked by Maxx Crosby, who forced the fumble and later sacked Wilson twice in the second half. It’s those little things that have cost the Broncos all season and essentially ended any realistic playoff hopes today.
As for the Raiders, they might be a bad team but they won’t be an easy out for the Seattle Seahawks next week... at least we assume. Most of their games are close; they just haven’t been winning many of them. Then again, if you made the whole schedule out of the Broncos and Texans, the Raiders would be Super Bowl contenders.
Up next: Denver is now 3-7 and their next game is against the Carolina Panthers (3-8), who are awful but were able to play the Baltimore Ravens to a respectable 13-3 road loss. If Denver can’t win that I don’t know what game they win any time soon.