With Losses Mounting For Russell Wilson’s Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks Continue to Reap Reward

When the Seahawks decided to pull the trigger and trade Russell Wilson back in March, the Broncos expected to emerge as an immediate contender in the stacked AFC, justifying their decision to deal multiple first and second-round picks to upgrade the most important position in the Sports.

But after losing a second straight overtime game on Monday night to the Los Angeles Chargers to fall to 2-4 on the season, it’s safe to say Wilson and his new team haven’t come close to meeting expectations so far. While the rest of the AFC West rejoices as first-year coach Nathaniel Hackett’s squad keeps underachieving, nobody may be more ecstatic about the poor start than Seattle, who has undoubtedly won the trade to this point.

Continuing a season-long offensive funk, despite Wilson completing each of his first 10 passes and throwing an early touchdown to get off to a fast start, Denver managed to put only 16 points on the scoreboard. Apparently dealing with a hamstring injury, the nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback reverted back to his subpar play from the first five games of the season after halftime, completing only three out of 11 throws in the final two quarters and overtime.

Through his first six games as a Bronco, the 33-year old Wilson has completed only 58.6 percent of his passes, nearly three percent lower than his worst season, while posting a career-worst 83.4 passer rating in that span. He’s also thrown just five touchdown passes, tying his previous career low from 2016, while contributing only 96 rushing yards and a touchdown as a runner.

In large part due to his struggles coupled with subpar offensive line play and chronic penalty issues, the Broncos rank 31st in points per game, 31st in points per drive, 30th in success rate, and 29th in EPA. By nearly every meaningful measure, the offense has been an unmitigated disaster with few signs things will turn the corner soon.

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Meanwhile in the Pacific Northwest, the Seahawks are already reaping the benefits of the Wilson trade. No. 9 overall pick Charles Cross has started all six games thus far and though the rookie left tackle has allowed four sacks, he’s held up well in his first NFL action protecting Geno Smith’s blind side. With the other pick acquired as part of the blockbuster deal, second-round pick Boye Mafe has started each of the past two games and looks like the part of a long-term starter off the edge.

Thanks to the contributions of Cross, Mafe, and several other impact rookies along with Smith’s unexpected stellar play replacing Wilson under center, Seattle has opened the season with a surprising 3-3 record and sits in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC West. Few could have expected at this stage of the season that they would be the better positioned franchise for a playoff run, and yet, that’s the reality after six weeks.

Making matters even better for general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll, the Broncos ongoing struggles currently have them positioned to pick seventh overall in the first round next April. The Seahawks will receive that pick as well as their second rounder, which is currently slated for 39th, to go with their native first and second round selections at No. 14 and no. 46 jumpsuit.

It’s still early with 11 games left on the schedule and the Broncos have ample time to right the ship and turn their season around. With that said, six games offers a large enough sample size for there to be legitimate concerns about the partnership of Wilson and Hackett figuring things out fast enough to salvage their season with the Chargers and Chiefs already two games in front of them in the standings.

As for the Seahawks, with the NFC West not looking near as formidable as recent seasons and the conference as a whole appearing to be down, a once unlikely postseason berth suddenly looks attainable. If the youth movement continues to advance well ahead of schedule, Carroll could be coaching games deeper into January than most anticipated while Schneider prepares to make a top-10 pick courtesy of Wilson and the Broncos.