Biggest takeaways from Denver Broncos Week 2 loss against the Commanders

The Broncos lost for the second consecutive week at home, as they open their season 0-2...

Washington Commanders v Denver Broncos
Washington Commanders v Denver Broncos / Justin Edmonds/GettyImages

For the second consecutive week, the Denver Broncos lost their game, first against the Las Vegas Raiders in week one, and now against the Washington Commanders in week two. Both losses at home. Both games were games with a Broncos lead but did not take advantage of it.

The Broncos lost by a score of 35-33 against the Commanders, in a game where the team was honoring the Super Bowl XXXIII champion team and a game where new Hall of Famer, and former Broncos defensive end DeMarcus Ware was honored.

Denver was up 21-3 in the second quarter, but Washington scored eighteen unanswered points, a lead that the Broncos could not take advantage of. Despite the loss, quarterback Russell Wilson became the first-ever quarterback in NFL history with 40,000+ passing yards, and 5,000+ rushing yards.

With that being said, here are my main takeaways from the game.

1. You simply cannot blow an 18-point lead ...

The Broncos blew a lead last week against the Raiders, but it was not a big one as the 18-point one on the week 2 matchup against the Washington Commanders. Denver was up 21-3 in the second quarter, and Washington had the second-largest comeback of the week (so far), as their division rivals New York Giants overcame a 21-0 Arizona Cardinals lead.

Something that Sean Payton mentioned when he was introduced as the new Denver head coach was details. Football is a game of details, and these can cost you games. Denver had a good offensive rhythm, but they lost it on a Russell Wilson lost fumble offensively, and defensively after the Kareem Jackson ejection after a big hit on TE Logan Thomas.

2. Pass rush stepped up, but defense in general was AWFUL, especially in second half

Last week, the Denver Broncos pass rush had zero sacks against Jimmy Garoppolo and the Las Vegas Raiders. In week two against the Washington Commanders, this unit stepped up, as they had four sacks, but the defense in general, was simply AWFUL. You cannot allow thirty-five points against second-year quarterback Sam Howell, who was starting his THIRD-EVER NFL game. He started one in 2022-23, and two (so far) in the 2023-24 season.

Of those four sacks, three were in the first half. Following the Broncos' 21-3 lead, Washington scored eighteen unanswered points, and then, they scored fourteen in the fourth quarter. Five scores from Washington in seven drives following the Broncos' big lead. New defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is probably the biggest concern of this team after starting 0-2.

Sam Howell finished with 299 passing yards, 13 rushing yards, and 2 total touchdowns. Washington's lead running back Brian Robinson had 87 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. Once again, simply unacceptable.

Regarding the defense, head coach Sean Payton said ...

""I thought we were poor.""

Sean Payton

3. Penalties again killed the team

In the 2022-23 season, the Broncos were one of the most penalized teams, to be specific, they were the second-most penalized team with 113 flags, just behind the Arizona Cardinals, who had 118, but Denver was penalized with more yards than Arizona. New season, same story ... the Denver Broncos, so far, lead the NFL in penalties. Discipline, something that coach Payton has mentioned, something that the Broncos do not seem to have, regarding this aspect of the game.

Against Washington, the Broncos had three offensive penalties, six defensive penalties, and one special team penalty. A couple of these happened in key parts of the game. Bonitto had a sack that could have turned into a 3rd down an 18, but a face mask gave Washington a free first down, they (Commanders) scored a touchdown in that drive. Before halftime, Washington made a field goal, thanks to a Thomas Incoom offside flag, which was followed by a big-gain play. 2nd down and 15, it was an incomplete pass, that could have made a 3rd down and 15, but All-Pro CB Pat Surtain had a pass interference, which was followed by a Washington touchdown. The Broncos sacked Howell on a third down, but CB Fabian Moreau made a holding penalty, another free first down for the Commanders, they scored a touchdown in that drive.

4. Jeudy and Sutton must step up, Mims a great all around player

Big plays were missing in loss against the Raiders, as they had just a few 20+ yard plays. Something that coach Payton mentioned after that game. Against Washington, that changed, as Russell Wilson had three 50+ yard completions ... two to Marvin Mims (60-yard TD, and 53-yard REC), and one to Brandon Johnson (50-yard TD). Additionally Wilson had five completions of 10-25 yards.

In the second half, Mims had zero receptions. Now, regarding the veteran receivers, Courtland Sutton had five receptions in seven targets for 66 yards, and Jerry Jeudy, who had his season debut, had three receptions in five targets for 25 yards.

Next. Week 2 Winners/Losers. Winners and losers from Broncos' Week 2 loss. dark

The Broncos are now 0-2, and are headed to Miami, for their first road game of the season. Can they get their first dub of the season against a strong Dolphins team?