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Russell Wilson's Broncos Debut vs. Seahawks Was Most-Watched MNF Game Since 2009

Doric SamSeptember 13, 2022

Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Russell Wilson's debut for the Denver Broncos against his former Seattle Seahawks team on Monday drew a ton of intrigue and attention.

In fact, ESPN revealed in a press release that it was the most-watched Monday Night Football game since the 2009 season and third-best since the broadcast moved to ESPN in 2006 with a total of 19,845,000 viewers.

Monday night's game also marked the ESPN debut of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman as the lead broadcasting duo. This year's season opener was set a new record for a Week 1 Monday Night Football audience, surpassing last season's record-setting viewership by 16 percent.

Wilson's debut also did wonders for ESPN's alternate telecast, as Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli garnered 1,502,000 viewers, an 86-percent jump from the Manning brothers' season debut last year.

Unfortunately for Wilson, his first game in a Broncos uniform didn't go as he'd hoped. Denver lost to Seattle 17-16 in a game that featured some questionable decision-making and clock management.

When the Broncos were marching down the field late in the fourth quarter, first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett neglected to take a timeout until substantial time ran off the clock. He then opted to kick a 64-yard field goal on 4th-and-5 instead of giving Wilson the chance to convert a first down. Brandon McManus missed the long attempt, ensuring the Week 1 loss for Denver.

Wilson threw for 340 yards and a touchdown on 29-of-42 passing. His counterpart Geno Smith, who replaced him as Seattle's starter, impressed by throwing for 195 yards and two scores in a steady performance.

Next week will feature a doubleheader on Monday night, as the Tennessee Titans will take on the Buffalo Bills on ESPN and the Minnesota Vikings will face the Philadelphia Eagles on ABC and ESPN+.

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