NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Time is running out for the Denver Broncos. With their 17-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, the Broncos fell to 3-6 on the year. It marked Denver's fifth loss this season that came by one score, and you have to wonder if the Broncos have already lost too many of those close games to make a late-season run for a playoff spot.
Russell Wilson completed 21 of 42 passes for 286 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the loss. He was under duress all afternoon, as he was sacked six times while the Titans racked up a whopping 18 QB hits. Denver's offense averaged just 2.6 yards per carry, scored its lone touchdown on a blown coverage and recorded just 106 yards of total offense in the second half.
Despite yet another tough loss, Wilson told reporters that there's still time for a turnaround. The veteran signal-caller said the Broncos need to "find" two more touchdowns a game, but that this team is also going to have to find a way to "answer those moments."
"It's been tough, it's been tough, it's been tough, it's been tough," said Wilson. "But we're not going to give up. That's for sure. And we know that as tough as it's been, and as good as we should be, and even though we've lost a lot of great players this season really, the reality is that we still have opportunity to answer these moments. And I'm going to do everything I can to find a way to answer those moments.
"We've still got games left. We still have moments where we can be better, and next thing we can do is just focus on the next moment."
There were several "moments" on Sunday that the Broncos failed to answer. The defense got burned on a flea flicker play that went for a 63-yard touchdown, the offense failed to capitalize on a fumble recovered in the third quarter and Wilson went 4 of 17 on third downs. Despite this, the Broncos still had a chance to tie the game and send the contest to overtime.
With just under three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Wilson took the offense 54 yards down the field to get to the Tennessee 21-yard line. With 48 seconds left, it looked like the Broncos were going to have a shot. But instead, Wilson was sacked from behind and fumbled on third down, and then threw an interception in the end zone on fourth-and-13. It was another opportunity where Wilson and the offense could not rise to the occasion, or "answer the moment."
"I believe in all these guys, man," said Wilson. "I was telling the guys on the last drive before we went out there. All the O-linemen, and all the tight ends and receivers and everybody. 'We can do this, we're gonna do this. We can do this.' And we almost did. Tried to make a play on fourth down, didn't work."
When it comes to what's wrong with the Broncos, you could point to a number of things. Wilson is on track to record career-worsts in points per game, completion percentage, TD-INT ratio and passer rating, and then first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett is not exactly leading the race for NFL Coach of the Year. The Broncos are also incredibly banged-up, as they lost wide receiver Jerry Jeudy plus offensive linemen Graham Glasgow and Billy Turner during Sunday's loss. They also have several notable names on injured reserve, such as offensive tackle Garett Bolles, center Lloyd Cushenberry III, cornerback Ronald Darby, pass rusher Randy Gregory, wide receiver Tim Patrick, safety Caden Sterns and of course running back Javonte Williams.
Despite the injuries, despite the close losses and despite the disappointing performances, Wilson isn't giving up. He believes that breakthrough is coming for the Broncos -- but if it is -- it's going to have to come now.
"As dark as it's been and as tough as it's been, I know there's light on the other side of the tunnel," said Wilson. "The reality for us is that we've got games left. And we got something to play for. We gotta play for each other. We gotta play for this team -- just as a whole. We gotta play for Broncos country, we gotta play for just ... the pride, man. We gotta bring it, and we gotta bring it every day. The thing that's disappointing is that I know as much as we've been working our butts off, we just all gotta be better. And like I said, I'll do whatever it takes, man. I'll do whatever it takes. If I gotta try to run for it, throw it, whatever, gotta move around, whatever, we've gotta win these games. That's the expectation. That's the expectation, to win games and to find ways to do it. We're not meeting that yet, but we're going to. We're going to. We have to. And I'm not going to blink on that."