SEATTLE – It didn’t take long for the Seattle Seahawks and their fans to move on from the Russell Wilson era. Never mind that he led the team to victory for ten years. Never forget that he helped secure the team’s only Super Bowl title.
Seahawks In the offseason, Wilson was traded to the Denver Broncos After becoming disillusioned by his former team’s lack of protection and refusal to vote on labor decisions. Eventually, the gap between Wilson and the club became too wide to close.
That gap was a big factor in Wilson’s successful 10 seasons in Seattle, since taking the field for the Heat before the Broncos played the Seahawks in their Monday opener. The buzz continued as the teams re-emerged for first downs and each time Wilson touched a snap or overthrew a receiver.
The Bulls only really stopped when Seattle cheered in the final moments of the game: Wilson’s last drive ended when Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett elected to send Brandon McManus the ball for a 64-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in the game. hour. As Wilson watched from the sideline, as the night wore on, McManus missed the kick, allowing the Seahawks to escape with a 17-16 victory.
“They might encourage you, they might annoy you, they might love you one day and hate you the next,” says the hard-working Wilson, trying to put a positive spin on the loss. “This is a sport.”
Wilson nearly silenced the doubters, passing for 340 yards and a touchdown and hooking up with new receivers Jerry Judy and Courtland Sutton for big gains.
Playing from behind in the third quarter, Wilson led the Broncos on back-to-back drives into the red zone. But the Broncos were held scoreless as running backs Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams fumbled at the goal line, helping the Seahawks maintain a 17-13 lead. The announced Denver defense also did Wilson some favors; He was penalized frequently – 12 times, for 106 yards – allowing the Seahawks to extend drives.
But Wilson said he had no problem with Hackett’s decision to go to McManus to try to win the game.
“I don’t think it was the wrong decision; I think he could have done it,” Wilson said. “Obviously, in hindsight, we didn’t make it, but if we were in that situation, I wouldn’t question whatever decision he made.”
Many good quarterbacks, of course, have returned to their original homes in new colors. Brett Favre to Green Bay. Peyton Manning to Indianapolis, Tom Brady to New England. In most cases, fans will briefly put aside their tribal loyalties to cheer on their former favorites before booing them once the game starts.
When Wilson returned to Seattle, he wasn’t so happy. He was sacked twice and struck out several times, delighting the sold-out crowd at Lumen Field. The fans held signs that read “Show Your Boom,” a reference to Seattle’s famous boom defense, and “12>3,” the Seahawks’ nickname for their fans — the 12th Man — and Wilson’s No. 3 jersey.
“I don’t wear my Wilson jersey because he’s not a Seahawk anymore,” said longtime ticket holder Sean Ray, who has worn a Brian Blades jersey since the 1990s in honor of Seahawks receivers. “One day Wilson will come back to have his number retired and people will go crazy. I’ll wear it then.
Seahawks fans were so over Wilson that they pegged former student Geno Smith as Seattle’s new catcher. Smith threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to tight end Will Disley on the Seahawks’ first drive, prompting the crowd to chant, “Gee! Gee-no!” He was an MVP contender.
“In the NFL, you never know when the momentum is going to change,” Smith said. “Anytime at home, anytime, you want to start the first drive and go down and score.”
After nine good but lackluster seasons, including two as a backup to Wilson, Smith — now playing for his fourth NFL team — finally felt vindicated.
“They wrote me off, but I didn’t,” he said of his critics.
Smith completed his first 13 passes, 23 of 28 overall, for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Unlike Wilson, he left the field for joy.
Despite his warm reception in Seattle, Wilson appears to have regained a measure of control in Denver, but now plays for a defensively sound team that is considered one of the franchise’s quarterbacks.
The noise “didn’t bother me,” Wilson said. “This is a hostile environment. It always was. I’ve given everything I’ve got here every day.
Known for his attention to detail, Wilson is just as focused in Colorado. As he entered the lobby of the Denver Broncos facility, he touched the mirror that protected the team’s three Lombardi trophies, taking a moment to reflect in front of them.
Presumably, Wilson will ponder how determined he is to win another Super Bowl. In fact, back in July, Wilson posted a video of him training in orange and blue cleats with the Lombardi trophy on his back. Next to the trophy were the words “4th coming soon”.
The Broncos’ new owners, the Walton family, were so confident in Wilson’s ability that they awarded him a five-year, $245 million contract extension this month.
In Seattle, the ambitions are more modest. The Seahawks are not expected to compete for a playoff spot in the NFC when they upgrade the rest of the roster after the quarterback. But by beating Wilson, Seattle took the first step into a new era.
Ben Spiegel Contributed reporting from Englewood, Colo.