Who can blame them? Veteran emcee Al Michaels, who teamed with Kirk Herbstreit on the broadcast, spent more time bemoaning how terrible both teams were than describing the action — though he did seem to take some satisfaction in counting the number of punts (seven for the Colts, five for the Broncos). And cutaways to attendees in the stands at Empower Field caught most of them booing, shaking their heads or simply looking shell-shocked by how offensive each team's offenses were.
Sitting through this catastrophe was about as exciting as watching Jell-O set, with occasional interruptions to be kicked in the stomach.
Shockingly, running back Melvin Gordon, who was pressed into action after starter Javonte Williams tore his ACL in last Sunday's defeat to the Las Vegas Raiders, didn't fumble...officially; the one time he spilled the pill, his knee was down. But the Broncos' running game was inefficient at best for much of the contest, and Wilson's throwing was erratic, as he regularly missed open receivers. Meanwhile, the play-calling was unimaginative and self-defeating, since it focused on straight drop-backs that frequently put Wilson directly in the path of the Colts' pass rush rather than rolling him out and allowing him to improvise — the method at which he most excels.
Is Hackett, who previously worked with the Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers, a very different kind of quarterback, to blame for not adapting his approach to fit Wilson? Or is Wilson the driving force behind the stylistic disconnect because he thinks diminishing the "run" portion of the run-pass option will lengthen his career? There's no telling at this point, but one thing's clear: The current tactics are utter failures.
Despite their missteps, the Broncos still should have won the game, but Wilson threw it away, tossing two unconscionable second-half interceptions that gave the seemingly comatose Colts life — and veteran QB Matt Ryan had enough juice left to lead his squad down the field for a tying field goal before the end of regulation, and another successful kick in OT. And while Wilson directed the Broncos inside the five-yard line in the waning moments, he once again proved incapable of producing a touchdown in the red zone. The incomplete, fourth-and-one pass that ended this debacle found Wilson once again trying to play the hero but winding up as a zero.
Even before this pathetic conclusion, people were making jokes on social media to distract themselves from the awfulness they were witnessing: Former Broncos coach Wade Phillips tweeted, "I think both teams should consider punting on 1st down," and Colorado Public Radio's Vic Vela sent out a photo of President Joe Biden at his desk supposedly signing "an executive order banning the Broncos from ever appearing on national TV again." But Broncos Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe didn't find anything funny about the results. "It's looking more and more likely the Broncos purchased [insert lemon emoji]," he tweeted. "Russ has been AWFUL so far this season. We're not riding anywhere with him like this."
This last line resonated when Wilson ended his post-game press appearance with his catchphrase "Let's ride" — an incredibly tone-deaf decision that set off the haters again. "Seeing tons of mean chatter about Russell Wilson on social," journalist Josina Anderson tweeted. "It’s fair to critique his performance and debate what’s going on in Denver. But why so many people reveling in his current struggles? Money? Beautiful wife?"
For answers to these questions, see our picks for the most memorable tweets about no longer trusting Russ.
Broncos trying to return Russell Wilson. pic.twitter.com/ZhMg0llvXv— Big Rog (@Mufasa9222) October 7, 2022
How much money did the #BroncosCountry pay Russell Wilson? Perhaps he can be returned to the nearest Walmart for a refund— Johnny Walker (@JohnnyWM1) October 7, 2022
The Russell Wilson drop off has been precipitous and its compounded because it’s looking like no one really liked him. Tuff scene.— The Wolf of 3rd Street (@TheImmaculateC) October 7, 2022
Russell Wilson happened... to the tune of 245 million— RaginGoon 🇨🇦 (@RaginGoon) October 7, 2022
I’m thinking it might be the curse of the Russell Wilson socks I bought this Spring in Denver… pic.twitter.com/mIfDlGzJkX— matthew cairns (@mhcairns3) October 7, 2022
Interesting NFL phenomenon: How did Russell Wilson get so much dramatically worse and Jalen Hurts get so much dramatically better over the same offseason?! pic.twitter.com/Am6trtkVO4— Kenny BooYah! (@KwikWarren) October 7, 2022
Said it when they made the deal and signed him, I’ll say it again now, probably repeat it again later; Russell Wilson was a colossal waste of money for the Broncos. Not the same guy he was a few years back, hasn’t been for a while. Major wasted money.— Larry (Lenz) Brannon (@LBrannon53) October 7, 2022
Future after watching Russell Wilson flame out every game this season: pic.twitter.com/nAGBGUlBiK— A.B. (@A_Mari13) October 7, 2022
we really suck so bad i don’t want to do this anymore we literally have russell wilson and we’re still getting no touchdowns wtf is going on how are we losing these games— Jake J (2-2) (@JakejMTB) October 7, 2022
Given his performance this season, is Russell Wilson’s contract looking like one of the worst in NFL history? Dude fell off.— Mantis2499 (@mantis2499) October 7, 2022
Russell Wilson on that 4th and 1: pic.twitter.com/9yzO7qPdnj— Ian Warner (@ianwarnercomedy) October 7, 2022
Russell Wilson better drop one of those corny ass step dad videos today cause he clearly forgot how to play football.— Chris (@RasChris89) October 7, 2022
Willing to trade Russell Wilson for 1 Busch light in my league , shit I’ll even buy you one at this point— THETULZ (@ryantuls) October 7, 2022
Russell Wilson pic.twitter.com/7cGv49GeBU— FrancisITBC (@FrancisInTheBox) October 7, 2022
I’ve had Russell Wilson saying, “broncos country, let’s ride” stuck in my head since I woke up like I didn’t suffer enough watching that game last night.— Cindy (@cinderelladummy) October 7, 2022
Russell Wilson: Broncos country, let’s ride!— 🇵🇷Los🇵🇷 (@CjKyojin) October 7, 2022
The ride: pic.twitter.com/ojGAGc7Wng
As an honest Russell Wilson fan, my idol is honestly washed— Reaves Fanatic (@GoatJamesss) October 7, 2022
Russell Wilson is hot dumpster juice. What an awful game…..Im starting to think that 200 million might be the worst investment ever— Justin (@JustinPorupski) October 7, 2022
Did you draft Russell Wilson in fantasy expecting him to cook? You may be entitled to compensation pic.twitter.com/K7TOytpl41— John (@DisneyCityFC) October 7, 2022