The Denver Broncos had a second consecutive comeback in primetime following their 21-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 11. Denver’s one-point win also fueled a bold declaration from one NFL writer regarding quarterback Russell Wilson.
Frank Schwab of Yahoo Sports officially declared the “comeback is complete” for Wilson, citing his “remarkable revival.”
“[Wilson] wasn’t even 35 years old, yet it looked like his time as a top quarterback might be over,” Schwab wrote in his column published November 19.
“In some games, you were allowed to wonder if Wilson was even a starting NFL quarterback anymore. The Denver Broncos’ trade for Wilson and the contract extension they gave him looked like a disaster. Nobody is ripping Wilson now.”
Wilson has experienced a resurgence under first-year head coach Sean Payton. He has completed 69% of his passes for 19 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions, with Payton calling the plays.
Wilson cooked the Vikings on defense. Per Pro Football Focus, he completed 10-of-15 passes for 126 yards against the blitz, including the game-winning 15-yard touchdown to Courtland Sutton. Schwab says Wilson might not return to his Pro Bowl-winning form with the Seattle Seahawks, but Denver will happily take this version of the veteran quarterback.
“He was having a good season before Sunday night, especially when compared to a lot of the quarterbacks around the league who are struggling. Then Sunday night’s two-minute drive was exactly what the Broncos thought they were getting with Wilson,” Schwab wrote.
Schwab acknowledged Wilson’s critics are “a lot quieter” over the Broncos’ four-game winning streak.
ESPN Personality Applauds Russell Wilson After Week 11 Win: ‘All the Way Back’
Schwab has jumped on the Wilson bandwagon, and so has Pat McAfee.
The ESPN personality applauded the star quarterback for his performance on the November 20 episode of “The Pat McAfee Show.”
“The Vikings were winning that game and I wake up this morning, holy hell, Russ was cooking. I saw him doing a postgame interview, thanking Jesus. He was all the way back. The vibes were incredibly high. Talking about Courtland Sutton being his guy, looking like his guy by the way. The whole Russell Wilson ‘Dangerwich’ is all the way back seemingly in Denver,” McAfee said.
Wilson won just four of 15 starts during the Broncos’ 2022 disaster class. McAfee alluded to the star quarterback having a prime opportunity to shift his career narrative in Denver.
“There have been flashes all season. There have been a lot of stats all season saying Russ was back. You get a primetime win though, I think you kind of maybe, I don’t want to say 180 completely, but kind of steer the narrative back in your direction if you’re Russell Wilson.”
Broncos Working Against History in Hunt for a Long Shot Playoff Spot
Wilson is seemingly back, yet the Broncos have long-shot odds of making a miracle playoff run. History is not on Denver’s side as they try to rebound from a 1-5 start to the 2023 campaign.
Only three teams in NFL history have made the postseason after starting 1-5. The 1970 Cincinnati Bengals were the first, finishing with an 8-6 record.
Two teams have made the playoffs following a 1-5 start this century. The first was the Kansas City Chiefs in 2015, coincidentally in the same season the Broncos won their most recent Super Bowl title. Kansas City ripped off 10 straight wins and advanced to the Divisional Round, losing to the New England Patriots.
The second 1-5 team to make the playoffs this century was the 2018 Indianapolis Colts. In the final season before Andrew Luck’s abrupt retirement, Indianapolis finished 10-6 and lost to the Chiefs in the Divisional Round.
History again does not favor the Broncos, but the odds aren’t impossible. However, Denver might have already dug themselves too deep a hole. Despite their Week 11 win, the Broncos only have a 21% chance of making the playoffs, according to The New York Times.