There are certain things that a superstar quarterback brings to an NFL team.
For the Denver Broncos, Russell Wilson will bring that dynamic deep ball, escapeability, improvisation and ball protection.
In fact, his passer rating has topped 100 points more than any other quarterback in the last five years, and he’s one of the best in the NFL in recent years for big passes versus turnover-worthy plays.
However, the good news keeps coming with Wilson.
Also according to Pro Football Focus, his 91.3 passer rating has been the second-best in the league since 2019 in one-touchdown games.
The best QBs in 1⃣-score games pic.twitter.com/3rT4mI6hXN
— PFF (@PFF) August 25, 2022
And the Broncos need all the help they can get in close games, going 1-5 last year in one-touchdown contests.
His high passer rating in close games seems to vibrate with the great play rate vs. turnover-worthy shots stat, from the Pro Football Focus 2022 QB Annual. By those metrics, Wilson was third in big pitches last year, even as he missed three games due to injury and was somewhat unsettled when he returned possibly too soon.
What exactly is a big release? PFF explains:
“In its simplest terms, a great release is at the high end of both difficulty and value. While the value is easy to see statistically, the difficulty has more to do with passes having a lower completion percentage the farther the ball is thrown down the field. Therefore, the big shot is best described as a pass with excellent ball placement and timing, usually delivered farther down the field and/or in a narrower window.
Turnover-worthy shots are seemingly self-explanatory, and Wilson doesn’t put the ball in danger very often. Namely, his six interceptions last year were the second fewest of his career.
To put it all together, Wilson can destroy a defense with deep balls while maintaining momentum by not turning the ball over.
Quite simply, teammates know they’re in the game no matter the score when they have a top-10 quarterback on their roster.
There’s no question that part plays into his excellent passer rating in one-touchdown games; teammates are stepping up their game around Wilson.
Look, teams make or miss the playoffs because of close games. Playoff-worthy teams win the ones they should and steal some that weren’t expected.
The Broncos, for example, went 1-5 in one-touchdown games last year. If they had somehow been able to go 4-2 in those close games, they would have made the playoffs.
And in the last two years, the team went 5-11 in one-touchdown games under Vic Fangio. During that same time period, the Kansas City Chiefs went 13-4 in one-touchdown games.
Those Chiefs have beaten the Broncos 13 straight times, with KC winning the AFC West six straight times, with two Super Bowl appearances and one win.
Denver has to find a way to beat the Chiefs at least once a year if they have any hope of winning the West. Of course, the Broncos could pull it off as a wild card team, which is more likely anyway.
But it’s still valuable to see how stellar the Chiefs have been in those close games, while Denver has been one of the worst in years.
Wilson is the tide that lifts all boats with the Broncos. With him, Denver will not only be more competitive, and ultimately win more one-touchdown games, but also be on the positive side of more blowouts in the near future.
In 2022, Wilson and company have a rocky road to the playoffs. But expect them to make a push, and 10-7 is certainly in the realm of possibility for orange and blue.