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Russell Wilson Ripped by NFL Twitter in Broncos' Blowout Loss to Baker Mayfield, Rams

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 26, 2022

Los Angeles Rams' Terrell Lewis sacks Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson during the first half of an NFL football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif.(AP Photo/Marcio J. Sanchez)
AP Photo/Marcio J. Sanchez

A disastrous Denver Broncos season reached a new low Sunday in a 51-14 road loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Both teams entered the game with matching 4-10 records after entering the 2022 campaign with great expectations and falling well short of them.

However, the defending champion Rams once again looked like Super Bowl contenders for a day as they jumped out to a 17-0 lead after 10 minutes and never looked back.

Meanwhile, the Broncos categorically played their worst football of the year. Quarterback Russell Wilson's struggles continued with interceptions on each of Denver's first two drives thanks to Rams cornerback Cobie Bryant and linebacker Bobby Wagner.

Los Angeles Rams @RamsNFL

.<a href="https://twitter.com/One4_era?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@One4_era</a> with the early INT!! 🦈<br><br>πŸ“Ί <a href="https://twitter.com/NFLonCBS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLonCBS</a> <a href="https://t.co/d2tybRRiiZ">pic.twitter.com/d2tybRRiiZ</a>

Los Angeles Rams @RamsNFL

BOBBY PLAYMAKER WAGNER WITH THE PICK!<br><br>πŸ“Ί <a href="https://twitter.com/NFLonCBS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLonCBS</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/Bwagz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Bwagz</a> <a href="https://t.co/5GPypmdhFx">pic.twitter.com/5GPypmdhFx</a>

L.A. played complementary football and scored touchdowns in response to each pick with scores via Tyler Higbee and Cam Akers.

Wilson ended the half by completing just 6 of 13 passes for 90 yards and two interceptions, and the Rams tacked on two more scores for a 31-3 edge at halftime.

The second half wasn't much better, with Wilson tossing his third pick on the Broncos' first drive after halftime courtesy of cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Los Angeles Rams @RamsNFL

OH MY GOODNESS JALEN!<br><br>5️⃣ <a href="https://twitter.com/jalenramsey?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jalenramsey</a> | πŸ“Ί <a href="https://twitter.com/NFLonCBS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLonCBS</a> <a href="https://t.co/iBVtPDnaff">pic.twitter.com/iBVtPDnaff</a>

Wilson threw a garbage-time touchdown to tight end Greg Dulcich in the fourth quarter and finished the afternoon by completing 15 of 27 passes for 214 yards, one score and three picks.

Both teams emptied their benches in the fourth quarter, and it somehow got even worse for Denver after Broncos backup Brett Rypien tossed a pick-six to Bryant.

Los Angeles Rams @RamsNFL

PICK, PICK, HOORAY!<br><br>πŸ“Ί <a href="https://twitter.com/One4_era?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@One4_era</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/NFLonCBS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLonCBS</a> <a href="https://t.co/7Nf2GK3YSu">pic.twitter.com/7Nf2GK3YSu</a>

The Broncos' defense, which entered the week allowing the third-fewest points per game, showed no signs of life either. Running back Cam Akers amassed 147 total yards and three touchdowns, and tight end Tyler Higbee added nine receptions, 94 yards and two scores. Quarterback Baker Mayfield cruised to a 24-of-28 day for 230 yards and two touchdowns.

Ultimately, Wilson's season-worst performance stood out in a series of discouraging efforts for a team that made a significant long-term investment in him.

Denver traded its first- and second-round picks in 2022 and 2023, a 2022 fifth-rounder and three players (quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant and defensive lineman Shelby Harris) to the Seattle Seahawks for Wilson and a 2022 fourth-rounder.

The Broncos then inked Wilson to a five-year, $245 million extension ($165 million guaranteed), including $124 million at signing.

However, the offense has been stagnant all year. They entered Week 16 scoring a league-worst 15.6 points per game. Wilson entered 27th out of 33 NFL qualifiers in quarterback rating and 28th in QBR, per Pro Football Reference. He has just 12 touchdown passes in 13 games.

It's a perplexing fall for the 34-year-old, a former superstar who has nine Pro Bowls on his resume.

The Broncos had been playing out the string of a lost season well before Sunday, but a terrible outing against a Rams team missing superstar defensive lineman Aaron Donald, quarterback Matt Stafford and wide receiver Cooper Kupp somehow led to Denver reaching its new 2022 nadir.

Jourdan Rodrigue @JourdanRodrigue

The Rams are missing nine starters on both sides of the ball. Today they beat the Broncos 51-14.

Twitter let its feelings known about Wilson's performance and the team's trade for him.

Tyler Greever @Tyler_Greever

Russ is cookin. <a href="https://t.co/mPUoz1aHl1">pic.twitter.com/mPUoz1aHl1</a>

Benjamin Allbright @AllbrightNFL

"Everbody's fired" type start for Denver...

Kevin Clark @bykevinclark

Dead cap charge for Russ is only $31 million in 2026.

Troy Renck @TroyRenck

Russell Wilson is playing like Zach Wilson. Everytime I think it can't get worse this season, these Broncos say, "Hold My Drink." <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Denver7?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Denver7</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Broncos?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Broncos</a> <a href="https://t.co/XRFqW9yAnS">https://t.co/XRFqW9yAnS</a>

Geoff Schwartz @geoffschwartz

Russell Wilson is broken. Is he still under warranty? Can the Broncos return him

Mike Kaye @mike_e_kaye

Has any superstar QB fallen off a cliff as quickly as Russell Wilson has this season?

Jake Asman @JakeAsman

The Russell Wilson trade and contract might be the worst in sports history.

Pat McAfee @PatMcAfeeShow

Russ is like Santa… giving gifts to everybody

Michael Rothstein @mikerothstein

Remember when Russell Wilson would always say "Broncos Country, Let's Ride?"<br><br>The only place the Broncos should want to ride to is the nearest Delorean.<br><br>To go back 12 months.<br><br>To not trade three players, two first round picks and two second round picks for Russell Wilson.

Andrew Mason @MaseDenver

Russell Wilson's passer rating so far today is 39.2.<br><br>If he threw incompletions that weren't intercepted on every pass, his rating would be 39.6.

Geoff Schwartz @geoffschwartz

Russell Wilson is broken. Is he still under warranty? Can the Broncos return him

Denver will now visit Patrick Mahomes and the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.