Russell Wilson and the Broncos' offense saved their best play for the fourth quarter, however, and it ended up making all the difference in the outcome. Wilson was a sub-50% passer in the first half, but after throwing an interception on Denver's opening drive of the third quarter (a very unlucky bounce of the ball), the veteran quarterback turned it on.
It took more than Wilson to get the job done in the fourth quarter. His teammates had to rise to the occasion, too. And they did.
We learned from wideout Courtland Sutton post-game that a mini-speech Wilson gave in the huddle perhaps helped to inspire the Broncos' collective effort to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
"Going into the fourth quarter, Russell sat down to kneel down in the huddle and told us, ‘Hey, look, we want to become a championship team. The team that goes deep into the playoffs and wins championships. These are the situations that we have to be able to master. We have to master these fourth quarters and be able to go out there and have that success.’ I feel like guys have bought in and locked into a situation," Sutton said on Sunday.
Wilson understands how the playoff sausage gets made in the NFL. No quarterback through his first 10 seasons has ever won more games than Wilson. Not Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, nor Joe Montana — the list goes on.
That battle-tested experience obviously lends itself to football wisdom. Wilson becoming a huddle philosopher in the heat of the moment showcases that wisdom, as well as a type of leadership from under center the Broncos haven't had since Manning.
The come-from-behind win was made complete when Wilson hit tight end Eric Saubert on a 22-yard touchdown strike up the right seam. It was a clutch throw and catch and provided evidence to a young supporting cast that Wilson can and will deliver when the chips are down.
"One thing I’m never doing is I’m never going to blink. That’s just not me," Wilson said post-game. "I think that was really critical for us to be able to lean on that and really stick together through that fourth quarter and really have our language right for the fourth quarter—our mentality right for the fourth quarter. Know that we’re going to have to battle here and to make our plays, we’re going to have to do our things—get our first downs. We have to move the ball and score a big touchdown. Sure enough, ‘Sauby’ opens up there for a great catch—a contested ball. We weren’t making those [catches] necessarily early in the game and he makes that great catch and that’s the difference in the game.”
Thanks, in large part, to Wilson's leadership and example, the Broncos were able to overcome a comedy of self-inflicted wounds to emerge victorious in the end. That's the mark of a good team; not the comedy of errors, but the grit and intestinal fortitude to overcome them.
"We didn't have the success we wanted to have in three quarters, but we were able to figure it out and get the win and that's the most important thing," Sutton said. "We have to go in and watch the film, figure out what we can do better and come back next week.”
Sutton has quickly become Wilson's No. 1 target. Sutton leads the Broncos with 11 receptions on 18 targets for 194 yards.
Wilson almost connected with Sutton on a touchdown against the Texans, but the replay revealed a toe barely touching the out-of-bounds line. Wilson kept going to Sutton and it helped keep multiple drives alive.
It's going to be fun to see how this QB/WR relationship takes shape as the Broncos' 2022 season progresses.
Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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