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Russell Wilson’s debut for the Denver Broncos against his former Seattle Seahawks team on Monday drew a huge amount of intrigue and attention.
Actually, ESPN revealed in a news release that it had been the most-watched Monday Night Football game because the 2009 season and third-best because the broadcast moved to ESPN in 2006 with a complete of 19,845,000 viewers.
Monday night’s game also marked the ESPN debut of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman because the lead broadcasting duo. This year’s season opener was set a fresh record for weekly 1 Monday Night Football audience, surpassing last season’s record-setting viewership by 16 percent.
Wilson’s debut also did wonders for ESPN’s alternate telecast, as Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli garnered 1,502,000 viewers, an 86-percent jump from the Manning brothers’ season debut this past year.
Unfortunately for Wilson, his first game in a Broncos uniform didn’t go as he’d hoped. Denver lost to Seattle 17-16 in a casino game that featured some questionable decision-making and clock management.
Once the Broncos were marching down the field late in the fourth quarter, first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett neglected to have a timeout until substantial time ran off the clock. Then opted to kick a 64-yard field goal on 4th-and-5 rather than giving Wilson the opportunity to convert an initial down. Brandon McManus missed the long attempt, ensuring the Week 1 loss for Denver.
Wilson threw for 340 yards and a touchdown on 29-of-42 passing. His counterpart Geno Smith, who replaced him as Seattle’s starter, impressed by throwing for 195 yards and two scores in a reliable performance.
In a few days will include a doubleheader on Monday night, because the Tennessee Titans will need on the Buffalo Bills on ESPN and the Minnesota Vikings will face the Philadelphia Eagles on ABC and ESPN+.