DENVER — Russell Wilson put it all on the line on Sunday in an effort to snap the losing streak against the Kansas City Chiefs. Literally.
Down 34-21 with 12:16 left in the fourth quarter, facing a 3rd-and-11 from the Chiefs 16-yard line, Denver’s franchise quarterback shed a defensive lineman in the backfield then took off toward the first down marker.
As he directed blockers, Wilson lunged toward the end zone after picking up the first down. He came crashing down, along with Frank Clark, on his head in a scary moment where Wilson was visibly shaken up.
Denver’s medical staff ran over to attend to him as he slowly got up and walked off the field under his own power.
He was later ruled out of the game with a concussion.
“Russell Wilson has a concussion. He’s in the concussion protocol,” Nathaniel Hackett said, making it official after the game.
Wilson didn’t return to the game, despite wanting to. As he was walking off the field, he stopped where the rest of the offense was gathered, appearing to make his case to stay in the game. However, the medical staff guided him off the field and eventually diagnosed him with a concussion.
“He was fighting the whole game,” Hackett said after the game, giving credit to his quarterback. “I give him so much credit and you see it, day-in and day-out. No matter what the situation is, just watching him there in that third-down situation to be able to break the pocket, and he was using his legs a lot. He obviously ended up getting a concussion. I think our medical team did a great job of getting him in here. He’s in the concussion protocol now. So we’ll go through that step-by-step process and do it the right way. But he played really well.”
Sunday was arguably Wilson’s best game as a Bronco. Despite not playing the majority of the fourth quarter, Wilson went 23-for-36 for 247 passing yards, three touchdowns, one interception and a 100.1 passer rating. Wilson was also Denver’s leading rusher, adding a season-high 57 rushing yards, including 14 on his final play of the game.
“I thought Russell did a great job using his feet,” Hackett said, when discussing one of the reasons Denver was able to have a season-high 28 points. “Whenever he’s able to break the pocket and run. He had some explosive runs there, which got us some good rushing yards and move the ball.”
Wilson’s final run, however, knocked him out for the rest of the game. No. 3’s effort didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.
“He was stepping up and making plays—putting his body on the line. You can say all you want but we’re 3-9 and they’re 9-3. The guy is out there battling his ass off to try and win the game,” Brett Rypien stated, when talking about Wilson. “That to me is somebody I want to follow.”
It is uncertain if Wilson will be able to lead the team in their next game against the Cardinals on Sunday, Dec. 18. Since he’s in the concussion protocol, Wilson will have to pass a series of steps this week in order to play. By the time Wilson passes through the protocol, whether that be this week or not, he will have been cleared by both the Broncos physicians and an independent neurological consultant.
“I have a lot of respect for him. When you have a quarterback that’s putting his body on the line like that, fighting, wanting to be out there, you’ve got to respect it, appreciate it and I think that gave everybody some juice,” Latavius Murray said after Denver’s 34-28 loss. “We are praying for him and hoping he gets healthy fast and that’s our leader, that’s our quarterback, so I have a lot of respect for him.”
Many other teammates expressed their concern for Wilson’s health and their admiration for his effort in trying to lead a comeback down 27-0.
“‘Russ’ is a true pro on and off the field, the way he carries himself, he never quits. That type of stuff is contagious, and I think it’s really cool to see from his perspective. The guy was battling,” Justin Simmons stated. “I’m praying he’s OK. But that was scary. You look at that and that’s the type of guy he is. He leaves it all on the field. He always talks about how he’ll do anything to win, it just hasn’t been our season. That’s the most frustrating part, but I always appreciate him, and appreciate everyone. It sucks the way things are going, but I appreciate the guys because I know the work that’s put in. It’s just unfortunate.”
If Wilson isn’t able to play against the Cardinals, Denver will turn to Rypien for his second start of the season.