49ers-Broncos Week 3 battle kicks off new Russell Wilson rivalry

·3 min read

'Can't escape': New chapter starts in 49ers' Wilson rivalry originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SANTA CLARA -- Russell Wilson has played the 49ers 20 times in the regular season. He has come away victorious in 16 of those games. He also won his only playoff game against San Francisco.

All 17 of those wins were as a Seattle Seahawk.

Wilson is in his first season with the Denver Broncos after being traded in the offseason, and through two weeks, the 11-year veteran quarterback is trying to give his new fans more reasons to cheer when they welcome the 49ers to Mile High this Sunday night. The Broncos are 1-1 so far, with a season-opening loss to the Seahawks in Week 1 followed by barely beating the Houston Texans 16-9 at home last week. The boo birds came out for Wilson and his teammates after he went just 14-for-31 for 219 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while being sacked three times.

The 49ers won't be fooled, though. They know, from a long history, exactly how dangerous Wilson still can be.

"They've had two games, but he still looks like Russ," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Wesnesday before practice. "He can make a lot of plays at any time. They've had a lot of opportunities, and they've just came up short. The times they did score were all from big plays that Russ made. ... Russ makes plays, and you can't fall asleep on him.

"No matter how much you hold him down or hold their offense down, whether it's Seattle or whether it's Denver, Russ can change a game at any time."

Through the first two games of the regular season, the 49ers lead the NFL in passing yards allowed per game at only 142.5. They also only have given up two passing touchdowns compared to three interceptions, and their opponent's passer rating is a lowly 73.1.

Reminder: Their first two games have been against Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears in a monsoon, and Geno Smith's Seahawks during a rainy day last Sunday.

Denver also has a handful of offensive weapons in receivers Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler, as well as running backs Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon.

But it all comes back to Wilson.

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Last season, Wilson completed nearly 77 percent (46-for-60) of his pass attempts when playing the 49ers, for 380 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Adding the cherry on top, he also scored once on the ground. For his career in the regular season, he has thrown for 4,169 yards and 36 TDs while being intercepted 10 times against the Niners.

That's nothing short of pure ownage.

"Can't escape," 49ers linebacker Fred Warner said when asked about facing Wilson again, despite the QB being traded out of the NFC West. "Just playing against him all these years, his escapability and just the savvy, his big-play ability -- you just have to make sure you keep him in front and you contain him.

"If you give him a sliver of space, he'll take it. He's looking to run around it to throw the ball. If he does get you in open space, he will try and juke you too. You got to make sure you're on point with him."

Once again, come Sunday night, we're in for another edition of Russell Wilson vs. the 49ers -- albeit with No. 3 in Broncos blue and orange instead of the blue and green of Seattle.

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