Wilson – now the quarterback of the Denver Broncos after having been traded from the Seahawks following a successful 10-year stint – was booed by the majority inside Lumen Field when he took to the gridiron for the first time in his new colors.
And the evening didn’t get any better for Wilson, as he and the Broncos were edged out 17-16 by the Seahawks.
However, Wilson said he expected the hostile reception upon his return to the city he had called home for a decade.
“It didn’t bother me, you know, it’s a hostile environment, it always has been. I didn’t expect them to give a round of applause every once in a while,” Wilson said with a smile after the game.
The 33-year-old added: “For me, Seattle’s been amazing for me. Like I said, anybody who thinks any other words, they don’t know my heart, and they don’t know how much this city has meant to me. Tonight was special, it was on the other side than I’m used to, but it was still a special environment and a place I’ve always loved.”
It was always going to be a memorable return to Seattle for Wilson.
The Seahawks drafted the quarterback with a third-round pick in 2012. During his time in the Pacific Northwest, he guided the franchise into eight postseasons, including two Super Bowl appearances and one championship win in 2014.
However, after relationships staled between Wilson and Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll in recent years, he was traded to the Broncos in the offseason for a huge haul in an exchange that sent shockwaves through the sport.
Upon arriving in Denver, he signed a five-year extension with the team reportedly worth $245 million and his debut just so happened to come at his former stomping ground in Seattle.
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However, it was his replacement on the Seattle sideline who really stole the show.
Geno Smith, who had been the back-up behind Wilson, looked steady in his first start since the end of the Wilson era, finishing with 195 yards on 23/28 passing with two touchdowns.
Wilson threw for 340 yards on 29/42 passing and a touchdown but the game ended with the ball out of his hands despite the resources invested in his signing.
After a sloppy second half from both teams, including two fumbles from the one-yard line on back-to-back possessions to start the second half for Denver, Wilson drove his team up the field in the final two minutes.
With 20 seconds left, on fourth and five at the Seattle 46-yard line, first year Denver coach Nathaniel Hackett had a decision to make: let his new, big money quarterback try to get them the required yardage or attempt a very long field goal?
In the end, Hackett chose the safer option of a 64-yard field goal attempt in the final few seconds to claim a victory from the jaws of defeat.
However, Brandon McManus’ attempt flew wide left, meaning Wilson’s return to Seattle ended in disappointment.
But after the game, Wilson stressed he supported Hackett’s decision to go for the field goal rather than let him try to keep the offense moving.
“I believe in coach Hackett,” Wilson said. “I believe in what we’re doing. Believe in everything, and any time you can try to find a way to make a play on fourth-and-5, that’s great, too. Also, I don’t think it was the wrong decision. I think [McManus] can make it.”
The defeat means that in an extremely competitive AFC West, the Broncos are already behind the eight-ball, while the Geno Smith era in Seattle begins with aplomb.