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Thursday Night Football: Russell Wilson and Broncos try to dig out of slump vs. Colts

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The Denver Broncos had just 12 first downs in Sunday’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, but it seemed like progress.

The buzz around the Broncos that swept the offseason has passed. It’s hard to go anywhere in Colorado without hearing complaints about rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett and even grumblings about quarterback Russell Wilson.

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The Broncos are 2-2, but it looks like it’s a lot worse. Crime, in particular, was a disappointment. The Indianapolis Colts have their own issues, hosting a survival match on Amazon Prime Video on Thursday night.

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The Broncos are getting their third primetime game of the season in five weeks, and many Broncos fans would probably prefer it tucked away Sunday afternoon among other games. The same can be said about the Colts 1-2-1.

Broncos attack was bad

The Broncos started the season with a loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The offense in the red zone was terrible, and Hackett became a household name for the still-controversial decision to let time go ahead and try a 64-yard field goal. The following week was a tough one for the offense in a home win over the Houston Texans. The offense was even worse in Week 3: nine times there were three or more, but somehow managed to score an 11-10 late victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Last week, the Raiders were down 32-23, for a total of 12 firsts. downs, which infuriated the fans. There aren’t many players or coaches that Broncos fans wouldn’t want to be fired.

In that game, Denver also lost to running back Javonta Williams during the season and several weeks to pass rusher Randy Gregory due to injuries. This is bad for the Broncos right now.

They too often lose on the first try. They had games where they couldn’t perform in the red zone. The passage of the game was up and down. There were a few good signs, but nothing close to a full game.

“I think it’s just consistency,” Hackett said this week. “We just don’t want to hurt ourselves. We want to make sure that we are constantly moving the chains. We had a good week with our third loss and then we had a bad week with our third loss. a good red zone and then a bad red zone. So I think it’s all about putting it all together.”

Wilson has 980 yards, four touchdowns and a 91.1 walking passer rating in four games. That’s not what the Broncos signed up for when they traded several draft picks to the Seattle Seahawks in a blockbuster-for-quarterback trade that was supposed to end the Broncos’ blues after Peyton Manning in that position.

There’s still time for Wilson to become a powerhouse and the Broncos are unbeaten 2-2. But all the positive excitement of the off-season has been replaced by skepticism and anxiety.

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) hasn't gotten off to a great start this season.  (Photo by RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) hasn’t gotten off to a great start this season. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Colts have problems too

Colts are also in poor condition. They were favorites for AFC South at the start of the season, but four weeks later they are 0-2-1 in divisional games. They face the Broncos without two injured stars, running back Jonathan Taylor and linebacker Shaquille Leonard. These aren’t just the two best players on the Colts, they’re the two best players in the entire NFL.

The Colts have a plethora of problems, from a mediocre defense to an offensive line that, oddly enough, can’t defend Matt Ryan or get a push in a running game, to Ryan’s game itself. Indianapolis beat the Kansas City Chiefs, but at 1–2–1 they rarely looked like a playoff team.

One of these two teams will sink into depression after Thursday evening. The season is still too early for panic, but both teams need to worry about how they will look in 2022. Some of their problems seem fundamental and can be difficult to fix.

It won’t even be mid-October, but Thursday’s losing team won’t be thrilled with the direction it’s headed this season.



Source: sports.yahoo.com

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