Sports

Broncos Fans on Twitter Pissed, Pleased by Win Over 49ers

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson in a post-game interview immediately following his team's 11-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on September 25.
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson in a post-game interview immediately following his team's 11-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on September 25. NBC Sports via YouTube
The tweeted reactions of Denver Broncos fans to the 11-10 win over the San Francisco 49ers on September 25 has been very mixed. The victory meant that the Fire Nathaniel Hackett hashtag, aimed at the outfit's rookie head coach following a heartbreaking loss to the Seattle Seahawks and an anemic victory against the ultra-subpar Houston Texans, largely took the night off. Yet the offense under pricey new quarterback Russell Wilson looked about as powerful as a pop gun, leaving even the most die-hard loyalists to wonder if the Broncos' 2-1 record and status as co-leader in the AFC West will turn out to be a short-lived hallucination.

Triumphs don't get much uglier. The Broncos' offense put up a gobsmacking nine three-and-outs over the course of the game, and punter Corliss Waitman booted the ball away ten times, or once every six minutes of game time. Indeed, Waitman's foot was so busy and so effective — his kicks averaged 47.6 yards and repeatedly pinned the 49ers deep — that it was legitimately in the running, so to speak, for the contest's offensive star.

For his part, Wilson managed just 184 yards passing on twenty completions (out of 34 attempts), and while his receivers dropped a number of balls that hit them in the hands, far too many of his throws were so embarrassingly errant that he should have changed his first name from Russ to Rust for the night. His ineffectiveness made it easy for the 49ers' stout defense to key on running backs Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon, whose numbers fell far short of outstanding — and even though Gordon is being portrayed as a hero in some quarters after he scored Denver's first red-zone touchdown of the season in the fourth quarter, he narrowly missed being the goat (the old-fashioned kind, not the Greatest Of All Time) when his two fumbles weren't recovered by guys wearing a San Francisco jersey.

On the positive side, the Broncos committed just five penalties for thirty yards after attracting 25 yellow flags in the first two match-ups combined, and Hackett, who hired ex-Baltimore Ravens assistant Jerry Rosburg to serve as a game-management consultant, didn't commit the kind of clock errors that had marred weeks one and two. Wilson, meanwhile, began taking more chances as time ticked down, to positive effect, and the defense turned in by far its best performance to date, largely neutralizing fearsome offensive weapons such as Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, not to mention quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who helped seal San Francisco's fate by way of a safety recorded after he stepped out of the end zone in the middle of a play.

But even counting that gift of two points, the Broncos registered only eleven in all — fewer than the sixteen apiece during the previous two games. The explosion of points the combination of Hackett and Wilson promised has yet to ignite — hence the frustration that's been exhibited by Broncos Country since the final whistle blew last night.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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