Broncos Fall to Seahawks: The Good, Bad & Ugly – Sports Illustrated

When the Denver Broncos took the field on Monday night against the Seattle Seahawks, the hangover from not playing starters in the preseason was apparent. The Broncos looked like they needed a big dose of caffeine. 
In the opening game of the season, Broncos Country’s hopes were dashed as the team could not overcome mental errors, penalties, and turnovers. To make matters worse, the Seahawks played with a higher sense of urgency and were more physical. 
Give the Broncos credit; they fought to the end in the 17-16 loss. The key takeaway from Monday night’s game? It's that winning in the NFL requires playing good football all four quarters.
Let's cover the good, bad, and ugly from Denver's season-opening loss to Seattle.
The Offense
After an offensive drought over the last few years, it was refreshing to see head coach Nathaniel Hackett’s newly-minted outside zone run scheme generate long drives. Russell Wilson went 29-of-42 for 340 passing yards and a touchdown with a passer rating of 101.3.
It was a breath of fresh air to see a Broncos QB throw for over 300 yards. Although the running backs coughed up two devastating fumbles on the goal-line, for most of the game, the Orange and Blue were able to move the ball down the field. However, inside the 10-yard line, the offense stalled three times due to penalties and defensive pressure on Wilson. 
It was great to see Hackett create opportunities for Jerry Jeudy to shine.
Tight Ends
One of the most unheralded position groups on the Broncos' roster was key in helping the offense consistently gain yards. Fullback/tight end Andrew Beck caught three first-quarter passes that forced the Seahawks' defense to adjust their tactics to compensate. 
Not wanting to be left out, Albert Okwuegbunam kept the chains moving by catching five passes. Eric Saubert and Eric Tomlinson were road graders in opening holes for the running backs.
Bradley Chubb | OLB
After a slow start, Chubb made two timely sacks that altered the game's trajectory.
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The Defense
The Broncos' defense began the game with a lack of intensity and willingness to be physical, which allowed the Seahawks to extend drives. Denver's defense allowed journeyman quarterback Geno Smith to look masterful during key stretches of the game. 
Smith went 23-of-28 for 195 yards and two touchdowns. He consistently found seems in the Broncos' soft zone coverage. The lack of tackling at game speed in the preseason was a factor in allowing the Seahawks' running backs to gain additional yards after contact. 
Safety Justin Simmons, cornerback Patrick Surtain II, and outside linebacker Randy Gregory must be a bigger factor in future contests.
Goal-line Fumbles
Both Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams fumbled the ball away on the goal-line, costing the Broncos 14 points. It was the first time two different backs had fumbled on the goal-line in the same game since 1987. 
Ugly.
Collective Failure
The players and coaches own Monday’s loss. Neither group was fully prepared to compete at the level necessary to win. The Seahawks earned the victory.
The biggest miss was Hackett’s decision to take his $245 million QB off the field on 4th-&-5 to attempt a 64-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the game. It was highly questionable. 
After Monday night’s game, there are many lessons to be learned by the entire organization. Broncos Country should take the same approach. 
The Broncos did show improvement from last year’s squad. Look for the team to bounce back versus the Houston Texans next week.
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Mike Evans covers the Denver Broncos as a contributor for Mile High Huddle.

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