Initial thoughts from Broncos’ 17-16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1 at Lumen Field:
1. Where’s Vic Fangio when you need him? Heaven help us. The preseason warned us. But man, did the Broncos come out looking soft, especially at the line of scrimmage. Denver sacks, through three quarters: zero. (Bradley Chubb rectified that, thankfully, in the final stanza.) Denver tackles for loss after three: two. Geno Smith’s passer rating starting the fourth: 122.92. Seattle punts through three quarters: Zero. If you’ve got serious playoff aspirations, especially in the AFC West, there’s only one word for that: Unacceptable.
2. Even in 2022, preseason tackling in the NFL matters. There’s a reason why you practice blocking and tackling in preseason tilts, with your starters, at game speed. Is there an injury risk? Sure. Is this a marathon and not a sprint? No question. But while the Broncos showed up looking to play flag football, the Seahawks and the 12th Man rolled off the bus looking for a street fight. Until Randy Gregory stood up DK Metcalf and yanked the ball out of his hands midway through the third quarter, the Broncos starters along the front seven still appeared to be largely in preseason mode.
3. Enough with the shotgun runs. Please. History, everybody! The Broncos became the first NFL team to fumble the ball away on two plays at the opposition 1-yard line since the Chiefs pulled it if off in 1987. On fourth-and-goal from the 2, the Broncos ran a draw with Melvin Gordon to the right. The ball came loose from his grasp before he could cross the plane. Next drive: third-and-goal from 1. Javonte Williams this time. Same result, only uglier. Guard Graham Glasgow got shoved into the backfield, and a collision squirted the ball free into the end zone, where the hosts happily fell on it. Two turnovers. Two touchdowns off the board. Can’t have it. Cannot.
4. Penalties are gonna happen in Seattle, but …Twelve of them heading into the final drive? In Week 1? Denver’s dirty dozen as of the 2-minute warning were the most in a game by the Broncos since Oct. 6, 2019 (12) at the Chargers — another salty road trip on the West Coast.