NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Russell Wilson can run and throw the ball all over the field.
The 11-year veteran’s challenge right now? Wilson looks much more like a rookie with the Denver Broncos than the nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback he was for the Seattle Seahawks.
Wilson threw for 286 yards and a touchdown Sunday. The quarterback with the five-year, $245 million deal also wound up sacked a season-high six times and was intercepted at the goal line with 11 seconds left in a 17-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
“I’ve got to find a way to get us two more touchdowns,” said Wilson, speaking to reporters while still wearing his uniform. “I think we’ve got to find a way to get two more touchdowns a game. I think that we were able to do that in London, we didn’t do it tonight.”
Wilson found rookie Jalen Virgil wide-open for a 66-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown, and he led the Broncos to a 39-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead late in the second quarter. But an offense that has scored 12 points in the third quarter all season bogged down and didn’t score another point.
The quarterback, whose new deal after being traded to Denver included a whopping $165 million in guarantees, was 21 of 42 and a 70.1 passer rating. He also ran seven times for 8 net yards. Wilson spent more time backpedaling, especially after losing wide receiver Jerry Jeudy to an injured ankle on the first play.
Not having Jeudy hurt even more with wide receiver KJ Hamler already scratched with an injured hamstring.
It didn’t help that Graham Glasgow started at center for the injured Lloyd Cushenberry III and hurt a shoulder late in the third quarter. He was replaced by rookie Luke Wattenberg, who had played one snap previously. Right tackle Billy Turner didn’t return after hurting a knee. It led to Wilson being hit 18 times.
First-year coach Nathaniel Hackett said the Broncos tried to mix it up as much as possible on offense.
“We wanted to try to master attack. We wanted a quick game,” Hackett said. “We wanted to do as much as we could to try to keep the defense off and protect those guys, and at the same time be able to protect Russ. And it just wasn’t coming together.”
Five of the Broncos’ losses have been by one score with Sunday’s the latest. Wilson also has been sacked at least three times in all but one game this season.
“We’re not going to give up, that’s for sure,” Wilson said. “Even though we’ve lost a lot of great players this season, really, the reality is we still have an opportunity to answer these moments. I’m going to do everything I can to find a way to answer those moments coming forward.”