DENVER — Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson makes his highly anticipated return to Seattle tonight on Monday Night Football and looks to beat his former team – something past Broncos quarterbacks have struggled with over the franchise’s history.
All of the neighbors favor a victory for Wilson when he returns to Lumen Field Monday night. He is 10-3 all time on Monday Night Football, has not lost a season opener since 2018 (to Denver, actually), and is 7-3 with 29 touchdowns and just one interception over his past 10 games in September.
Seattle fans are expected to boo Wilson after he left Seattle in a trade this offseason and signed a five-year, $245 million contract with $124 million guaranteed two weeks ago.
The Broncos come into the 2022 season opener, which will be televised on Denver7, favored by 6.5 points over the Seahawks. But if Wilson and the Broncos beat Seattle, it would be a somewhat rare feat for a Broncos quarterback playing against his former team.
Broncos quarterbacks are 8-13-1 against their former teams all-time, including losing records from the past two Broncos quarterbacks who played against their previous teams. The full list is as follows:
Pete Liske — 1-0 vs. New York Jets
Liske started 11 of the 18 games in which he appeared for the Broncos in the 1969 and 1970 seasons and went 6-5 overall for Denver. He only appeared in two games in 1964 with the Jets, but beat them 21-19 in September 1969 with the Broncos.
Steve Tensi — 1-5 vs. San Diego Chargers
Tensi joined the Broncos in 1967 after two seasons with the Chargers in which he only started two games. He would start 32 of 41 games in which he appeared with the Broncos, earning a 10-21-1 record. He did not fare well against his former team, winning a Nov. 2, 1969, matchup 13-0 but losing all five other games the Broncos played San Diego.
Don Horn — 0-1 vs. Green Bay Packers
Horn had spent four seasons with the Packers before joining Denver for the 1971 season, in which he would start all nine games. But he lost to Green Bay 34-13 in the lone matchup against his former team, finishing with a 48% completion percentage in the September 1971 matchup.
Steve Ramsey — 1-0 vs. New Orleans
After playing in one game in the 1970 season for the Saints, throwing two passes but completing neither of them, Ramsey joined the Broncos in the 1971 season, where he would play through the 1976 season. In his lone game against the Saints, in October 1974, he led the Broncos to a 33-17 win, finishing with 295 yards passing and two touchdowns.
Charley Johnson — 2-0-1 overall (0-0-1 vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 2-0 vs. Houston Oilers)
Johnson played 15 seasons of professional football and finished out his career with the Broncos from 1972 through 1975, during which he finished with a 20-18-3 record. He played the first nine seasons of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, then spent two seasons with the Oilers. During his Broncos career, he played against the Cardinals once – ending in a 17-17 tie in November 1973. He won both matchups with the Broncos against Houston – in October 1973 and December 1974 – and finished with a 60% completion percentage, 433 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.
Craig Morton — 1-2 overall (0-2 vs. Dallas Cowboys, 1-0 vs. New York Giants)
Morton played 18 years of professional football and rounded out his career with six years in Denver, where he compiled a 41-23 record over six seasons. He started his career with the Dallas Cowboys before playing with the New York Giants for 2 ½ years – the only place he had a losing record. While with the Broncos, Morton lost to the Cowboys 14-6 in December 1977, though he only attempted one pass, then again about a month later in the playoffs, when the Broncos lost 17-10 and Morton went 4-of-15 for 39 yards and four interceptions. He played one game against the Giants while with Denver, ending in a 14-9 win in October 1980.
Steve DeBerg — 1-0 vs. San Francisco 49ers
DeBerg appeared over three seasons in Denver, finishing with a 5-6 record in the games he started for the Broncos. He started his career with the 49ers and won his only matchup as Broncos quarterback against his former team, a 24-21 victory in September 1982.
Case Keenum — 0-2 overall (0-1 vs. Houston Texans, 0-1 vs. Los Angeles Rams)
Keenum started all 16 games for the Broncos during the 2018 season, leading the team to a 6-10 record during his lone season in Denver. He had previously played for Houston, St. Louis/Los Angeles and Minnesota. He played against both the Texans and Rams during his season with the Broncos and lost both games. He lost in October to the Rams 23-20, and in November to Houston, 19-17, though he had 612 yards passing, three touchdowns and just one interception in the two games.
Peyton Manning — 1-3 vs. Indianapolis Colts
Though Manning is widely lauded as one of the Broncos best two quarterbacks ever, he did not fare well against the team where he spent the first 13 seasons of his career, the Indianapolis Colts. Though he compiled a 45-12 regular season record in Denver, two of those losses came to the Colts, and he would lose to Indy again in the playoffs. Peyton lost his first game against the Colts, during Week 7 of the 2013 season, 39-33 despite 386 yards passing and three touchdowns. He would win the next matchup during Week 1 of the 2014 season, 31-24, finishing with 269 yards passing and three touchdowns. But the Broncos lost to the Colts in the playoffs, 24-13. And in Week 9 of the next season, the Broncos would fall to the Colts 27-24.
**John Elway — 2-0 vs. Baltimore Colts
This one doesn’t really count because Elway technically never played for the Baltimore Colts, who traded him to Denver after the 1983 draft because Elway did not want to play there. He would go on to play to the Colts twice during his rookie season, beating them both times. First, the Broncos beat Baltimore 17-10 in Week 2, then 21-19 in Week 15. Elway’s performances in each game were vastly different: He finished with a 43% completion percentage, 106 yards passing, and no scores in the first game. In the second, he had a 52% completion percentage, 345 yards passing and three touchdowns.
You can watch full coverage of Monday’s opener between the Broncos and Seahawks on Denver7, with news before the game starting at 5 p.m. and full post-game coverage to follow.