Russell Wilson takes a breath, leads Broncos past Jaguars

LONDON — After a week in London filled with questions about Denver Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett’s future and what was wrong with Russell Wilson, Hackett felt it was time to look his quarterback in the eye.

After the Broncos’ offense, bottomed in the league on Sunday, opened the game with a lackluster three-and-out, Wilson ended the team’s second possession by throwing an interception on his second pass attempt of the day.

“First quarter, that was a hot start,” Hackett said after the Broncos’ 21:17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek, choosing the second [pass] play. It comes with this urge, with people who want to make a difference instead of operating and not trying to do too much.

“I spoke to Russell, told him to take a breath, breathe, just do what he’s doing. And when we kind of got into this game…we could [make] some efficient plays for him and he could start to feel that groove.”

The Broncos (3-5) and Wilson actually rallied, driving 80 yards for the crucial touchdown in under two minutes to erase a 10-0 deficit in the second quarter, end their four-game losing streak and turn down the criticism thermostat — at least it’s goodbye week.

Wilson finished 18 of 30 for 252 yards with a touchdown as the Broncos went 16+ points for the second time this season. It was also the first time they scored more than 16 points in a win. The offense also put together a nine-game 98-yard drive for their first touchdown of the third quarter of the season, and Wilson led the game-winning drive, capped by Latavius ​​Murray’s 2-yard touchdown run.

Hackett said during the offensive’s bumpy start this season that he believed players sometimes pushed when troubles mounted. And he said after Sunday’s game that it was the first time Wilson’s interception came so early in the game that he felt like he needed to take his quarterback’s temperature after an error.

“We’ve never had anything like this happen so soon and so soon … just walked up to him and tried to explain to him, ‘Take what they give you, don’t force it,'” Hackett said. “And he looked and had a big smile on his face. You learn a lot about a quarterback when he throws a pickaxe, especially early on. I’ve had some quarterbacks go into the tank and I’ve had some quarterbacks say, “I got that out of the way.” He was able to recover and come back and make some plays.

“You know, sometimes guys make a game,” Wilson said. “Trust our defence, just keep at it and just find a way to make some games. Every time something negative happens, you react like that.”

The Broncos ended with 12 penalties and the Jaguars hammered out 191 rushing yards — the second-highest total the Broncos have conceded this season behind the Raiders’ 212 in Week 4. Travis Etienne Jr. finished with 156 of those yards, including a 49-yard run in the second quarter. But the Broncos held Trevor Lawrence for 133 passing yards and intercepted him twice, once in the end zone by Justin Simmons and once by K’Waun Williams with 1:36 left to seal the win.

“With the bad luck, it was good to see [the offense] Hold it down,” said Broncos defensive end Dre’Mont Jones. “They helped us more in this game than we helped them.” Russell Wilson takes a breath, leads Broncos past Jaguars

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