Russell Wilson’s history against 49ers bodes well for Broncos in Week 3

Sep 22, 2022, 9:14 AM
Russell Wilson throws a pass in training camp...
ENGLEWOOD, COLORADO - JUNE 14: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Denver Broncos throws during a mandatory mini-camp at UCHealth Training Center on June 14, 2022 in Englewood, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

This story was originally published by Andrew Mason, senior Broncos writer for 104.3 The Fan in Denver, a Bonneville station. 

It’s fair to say that Russell Wilson has been a thorn in the San Francisco 49ers’ side over the last decade.

And when their head coach, Kyle Shanahan, looks at Wilson in orange and blue, he sees the quarterback who has tormented them. Wilson led the Seattle Seahawks to a 17-4 record against the 49ers, including a 23-17 win in the 2013 NFC Championship Game.

Even last year — when the 49ers came within one game of the Super Bowl and the Seahawks went 7-10 — Wilson led his team to a season series sweep.

“I see the same stuff I’ve seen going against him in Seattle for the last 10 years,” Shanahan said Wednesday. “They’ve just come up short on a couple of touchdowns there.”

It’s not just the wins, but how they happen. They’re often close; the 49ers’ last three losses to Wilson-led teams came by one score apiece. In a January 2021 game, Wilson led the Seahawks on three fourth-quarter touchdown drives, overturning a 16-6 deficit.

“I can’t tell you how many times you go against him and nothing’s happening, and then all of a sudden, they score 21 points like that, and that’s what you’ve always got to be careful of,” Shanahan said.

“That’s what we’ve seen in the past, and that’s what I feel he was extremely close to showing these last two weeks.”

Perhaps the best thing the Broncos have going for them is Wilson’s history against the 49ers. Back-breaking mistakes are rare for Wilson; success is the norm.

Most notable is the consistency — especially against the Shanahan-led 49ers. Since Shanahan became San Francisco’s head coach in 2017, Wilson-led teams have averaged 27.1 points. Just once in those 10 games did they fail to score at least 21 points. That came in the first meeting of Wilson and Shanahan, when Seattle won, 12-9.

Russell Wilson also has at least one touchdown pass in each of his last 10 games against the 49ers. And in the 10 games against them since Shanahan became their head coach, he has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 22-to-3.

Wilson’s average game against Shanahan’s 49ers? 22 completions in 33 attempts, a completion percentage of 66.7, 2.2 touchdowns and 0.3 interceptions.

So, on Sunday, all the Broncos ask of Wilson is what he’s done to the 49ers throughout his career.

“No matter how long you hold Russell and contain him, he always finds ways to make some plays, and you hope to limit those,” Shanahan said.

You can read more from Andrew on The Fan and follow him on Twitter at @MaseDenver.

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