Time is now for Broncos to flip script of struggling on home field – The Denver Post


Eleven things about the Broncos entering Sunday’s home opener against the Houston Texans:

1. The Broncos’ home-field advantage at Mile High — altitude plus crowd noise — has mostly disappeared during their current six-year playoff drought. The only way to jump into playoff contention is to correct that trend. From 2012-15, the Broncos were 28-4 at home in the regular season; from 2016-21, they were 23-26. The Texans game starts a stretch of three home dates in four weeks (San Francisco in Week 3 and Indianapolis in Week 5, both prime-time starts). The Texans are 4-13 on the road the last two years.

2. “There is nothing like home and having the crowd on your side,” coach Nathaniel Hackett said. “It was definitely a hostile environment last week (in Seattle). We’re so excited to be in front of our fans to hear them cheer and get excited for all the guys.” The Broncos had three false start penalties against the Seahawks.

3. Quarterback Russell Wilson had home-field seasons of 8-0 (2012), 7-1 (’13-14 and ’16) and 6-2 (’18) for Seattle. “I’m excited about (the home opener) because these fans are the best in the world,” he said. “I was stunned how many fans were able to travel to the game up in Seattle — there was a ton of orange in the crowd.”

4. Among 16 red zone snaps in Week 1, Wilson was in the shotgun nine times, including both third-quarter plays from the 1-yard line. The shotgun at the goal-line eliminates the quarterback sneak option; Melvin Gordon fumbled on fourth down and Javonte Williams on third down to equal empty possessions.

5. Hackett said of using the shotgun in the red zone: “In Green Bay, we saw that it gives a lot of run-pass options. I think it makes that (defenses) have to cover the whole field. You can still get the downhill runs with riding some of those double teams on the backside, but at the same time, if you need to throw the ball, you’re in better position to get the ball out.”

6. The Broncos were one of four teams with no red zone touchdowns in Week 1. They went 0 for 4, Seattle and Miami both 0 for 2 and Dallas didn’t run a red-zone snap.

7. When I posted the statistics about how often the Broncos ran down the play-clock against Seattle (two delay-of-game penalties and 13 snaps at one second), Seahawks fans pointed blame at Wilson, not the Hackett-led operation. In Wilson’s last five full seasons (2016-20), the Seahawks had 20 delay of game penalties (including 15 in 2018-20). From 2017-21, the Broncos had 22 delay of game penalties.


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