Gassers and a look ahead following the Broncos’ 17-16 loss to the Seahawks in Week 1.
The Broncos got the ball to the Seattle 46-yard line on their final drive, with 48 seconds left. Denver faced 4th-and-5, and had three timeouts. But Hackett elected to let the clock run down to 20 seconds, then called a timeout. Why not call a timeout immediately after the third-down play? And, perhaps more importantly — why did Hackett feel his chances were better with a 64-yard field goal instead of converting 4th-and-5 with Russell Wilson, and then attempting a shorter field goal? Brandon McManus’ attempt, which went wide left, would’ve tied for the second-longest field goal in NFL history.
Broncos running backs
The Broncos would’ve had the game in the bag had they not coughed up the ball twice at the goal line in the second half. Melvin Gordon fumbled at the one-yard line in the third, then on Denver’s next possession, Javonte Williams did the same thing when he was blown up in the backfield by Uchenna Nwosu. With the two blunders, the Broncos left 14 points on the board — or six, at the very minimum — in a one-point loss.
The quarterback with 24 comebacks and 32 game-winning drives on his resume fell short of delivering a win in his first game with the Broncos. Wilson finished 29-of-42 for 340 yards, with one touchdown and a 101.3 rating. There’s a strong case to be made that his former backup, Seattle QB Geno Smith, outplayed him (Smith finished 23-of-28 for 195 yards, two TDs and a 119.5 rating). Miscues, penalties (including three false starts and two delay-of-game penalties), puzzling coaching decisions, and the two goal-line fumbles didn’t help, but Wilson needed to put the Broncos on his back and carry them to a win at his old stomping grounds — and couldn’t.
Sunday, Sept. 18 vs. Texans at Empower Field, 2:25 p.m. (Week 2)
Week 1 result: Tied 20-20 vs Colts
Coach: Lovie Smith (1st year with Houston, 12th overall)
About the Texans: The Lovie Smith Era started with a tie, as the Texans let a 17-point fourth-quarter lead slip away in the overtime stalemate with Indianapolis. Second-year QB Davis Mills had two touchdowns and no interceptions, while Brandin Cooks was the Texans’ top offensive playmaker with seven catches for 82 yards. The last time the Broncos played the Texans, Denver won 38-24 in Houston in 2019 in a game where safety Kareem Jackson set the early tone with a 70-yard fumble return for a touchdown.