The 2022 Denver Broncos: What went wrong?

By: Nick Carlucci

Denver Broncos in the huddle in a game vs the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, in Denver, Colorado. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

The 2022 Denver Broncos, a team that is poised to win, a team fans have been excited to finally see on the field, a team ready and excited to prove to everyone that they’re legit, a team destined to finally break Denver’s playoff drought, all to make the city of Denver scratch their heads just months later. 

This team looked good with a potentially lethal WR core in Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, and the speedy KJ Hamler. Plus a new Quarterback, future Hall-of-Famer Russell Wilson at the helm. This team was scary on paper. But with all that potential, what went wrong?

The day is March 8th, 2022, and the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks pull of a blockbuster trade. The Seahawks trade their franchise’s best QB to the Broncos, a team they beat to win their first ever super bowl, in exchange for Drew Lock, Shelby Harris, Noah Fant, and Broncos 2023 first round pick, 2 2nds, along with a 5th from 2022. Quite the haul, but for a Hall of Fame Quarterback and for a team that is “One QB away from contention,” doesn’t seem like a big deal. Until it was. 

The Broncos super bowl odds jumped from 25-1 to 12-1 following the trade. That was the 4th best odds. How could a team with that much promise just collapse? To answer that with one Word: Injuries. 

Their first loss was WR Tim Patrick, who was just off a career season in 2021, earning himself a nice contract extension and looking to do even better with a HOF Quarterback. He went down with a torn ACL in practice before the season. He is out for the season. 

The next injury came against the Oakland Raiders on October 2nd. Their second year Running Back Javonte Williams went down with an ACL injury. He is out for the season. That was a huge loss as Javonte was fresh off a 903-yard rookie season and looking to do more this season. Those are 2 important starters just done for the season barely even 3 games in. 

The list goes on and on, Garett Bolles is on IR, Ronald Darby is on IR, Randy Gregory is on IR, KJ Hamler is on IR, Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton missed games and now QB Russell Wilson is in concussion protocol, suffering it this past week in the game vs the Chiefs, where he put it all on the line diving for a first down to help the team in trying to make a huge comeback. 

Also getting hurt in that game was former Broncos QB, WR Kendall Hinton, who you may remember had to play QB in a game against the Saints in 2020, due to every Denver QB to be out with covid. Hinton is having a great year filling in for the injured Patrick. So for Broncos fans, that was tough to see him go down. 

But along with injuries, the Broncos traded their star edge rusher Bradley Chubb to the Miami Dolphins for a 1st round pick and RB Chase Edmonds, who is now on IR. 

Now we can’t talk about the Broncos and their $245 Million man, Russell Wilson. Through 13 games, Russ has played in 12. In those 12 games he has 11 touchdown passes, 1 TD less than the total number of bathrooms he has in his Denver home (12). He has been having the worst season of his career thus far. Throwing for 2,805 years, 11 Touchdowns, 6 Interceptions, and like a million 3 and outs. His previous season, and his last as a Seahawk, seemed like a down year, with 3,113 yards, 25 TDs, and 6 Ints, and that was in 14 games played. I guarantee every Broncos fan would love to have those numbers compared to what’s happening this year. 

Scoring points has been their biggest issue. In the Broncos 13 games this season, they have scored 20+ in 3 games. If The Broncos score just 20 points in every game this year, they would be 9-4 and in a Wild Card spot and 1 game back of the division lead. Their defense has given them so many opportunities to win by holding opponents to an average of just 17 points per game. And having 4 games of opponents scoring 14 or less, games in which the Broncos are 2-2. 

Russell has been very disappointing this year and it has been tough to watch. He doesn’t seem like himself. And part of that is due to 1st year head coach Nathanial Hackett. Hackett was the OC for the Packers for Aaron Rodgers MVP year last year. But he wasn’t the one calling the plays. Which is something he wanted to do while in Denver, but with him at the helm, things just haven’t been going right. He has since turned play calling over to Quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Klint Kubiak, the son of Gary Kubiak, who was the head coach of the Broncos last Super Bowl win in in the 2015-16 season. 

With all these injuries, lack of play, and a 1st year head coach that is still learning, your 2022 Denver Broncos have gone from a Super Bowl contender to 3-10 in the blink of an eye. Remember the Russell Wilson trade mentioned earlier? Yeah, well The Broncos are projected to give the Seahawks the #2 overall pick in the upcoming draft. That makes this trade sting even more for Denver. In the words of Brandon Perna of ThatsGoodSports, every game the Broncos play in just seems like the new worst game of the week. Broncos’ fans just want to throw this season away, forget it all, and just start next year happy and healthy. 

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