Top 5 reasons the Broncos failed in season opener vs. Seahawks

Denver Broncos, Nathaniel Hackett (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos, Nathaniel Hackett (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
3 of 4
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

Denver Broncos had trouble tackling the Seattle Seahawks in the first half

This was pretty brutal throughout the game. There were far too many plays where the Seahawks were getting to the second and third level of defense due to poor tackling on the Broncos’ part. This is really the one justification for playing starters in the preseason in my personal opinion, although I’m sure everyone has varying opinions there.

The tackling was bad enough in this game that it cost the Broncos’ defense throughout the entire first half. Rashaad Penny had a pretty modest 5.0 yards per carry considering the number of times it felt like he was breaking through into the Broncos’ defensive backfield. The Broncos’ defense didn’t give up a ton of yardage in this game overall, but missed tackles in the first half were a huge reason why Seattle was able to get momentum from the very beginning of the game and ultimately build an insurmountable lead.

Broncos were plagued by penalties against the Seattle Seahawks

Although some penalties are arguable, the Broncos racked up 12 for 106 yards in this game. It was really astounding, frankly. Again, some of these penalties were arguable at best. The officials in this game made a really bad roughing the passer call on Bradley Chubb — who had a great second half with two sacks — when he smacked Geno Smith right in the chest a split second after he threw the ball.

ESPN’s new color commentator Troy Aikman kept saying that Chubb hit Geno Smith directly helmet-to-helmet, but I’m not sure what he was seeing because that clearly wasn’t the case nor was the hit so egregiously late that it should have been called. There was another ticky-tack unsportsmanlike conduct called on Jonathon Cooper who — heaven forbid — celebrated a great tackle.

In terms of plays the Broncos can actually go back and fix, there were some correctable ones in this game, but there were also just some really bad penalties that killed drives or made scoring borderline impossible. A false start penalty by Courtland Sutton negated a go-ahead touchdown from Andrew Beck on a brilliantly designed shovel pass play.

There were three critical red zone penalties in this game:

  • False start by RT Cam Fleming
  • Delay of game by Russell Wilson and the offense
  • False start by WR Courtland Sutton

You simply cannot have that if you want to be a competitive team in the loaded AFC West.