BRONCOS

Three observations from the Broncos heartbreaking loss to the Seahawks

Sep 12, 2022, 10:44 PM
Russell Wilson...
(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos did not get the 2022 season off to a great start. They traveled to the Pacific Northwest to face the Seattle Seahawks and lost by a score of 17-16.

It is a bad way to start a new era for the Broncos. Russell Wilson comes over from the Seahawks this offseason, and things were supposed to be different with him under center. Gone is former head coach Vic Fangio, and in his place is a young and energetic Nathaniel Hackett. While disappointment was the order of the day with Fangio, there was a new energy around Hackett and most expected them to win because of it.

The Broncos lost to the Seahawks, and they beat themselves. Penalties crushed this team along the way, and the defense certainly didn’t perform as expected against what most can agree is an average (at best) Seattle offense. The offense had to shake off rust, and seemed to do it later in the game, but by that time it was too late.
Here are my three biggest observations from the loss to the Seahawks.

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Still Can’t Guard TEs

The Broncos have had a problem covering tight ends for years. I thought against the Seahawks and quarterback Geno Smith, the Broncos could have a better showing. I really thought because Seattle doesn’t have a tight end of note – it’s not like Travis Kelce or George Kittle is out there for them – that Denver would have more success against that position on Monday. Man alive, I was wrong.

Smith was dealing out there, and it seemed like hardly any of his passes hit the ground incomplete. He threw two touchdowns against the Broncos, and both of those were to tight ends. When Colby Parkinson and Will Dissly (again) are tearing you up, there is a problem with your coverage.

I know starter Josey Jewell did not play in this game, but his forte is not coverage either. The Broncos saw Alex Singleton out there in his place, and it was clear that Smith was targeting him. On other plays, it was inside linebacker Jonas Griffith who was targeted. One the touchdown to Parkinson, Griffith thought he had cornerback help but his teammate ducked instead of playing deep. This type of miscommunication cannot happen if the team is dealing with inefficiencies at the position.

There’s not much the team can do from a personnel perspective. It’s going to take better scheming, and better communication for the Broncos to clean up this problem. The NFL is a copycat league, and next up are the Houston Texans with tight end O.J. Howard coming off a two-touchdown performance in Week 1. Expect the Texans to try and get him free against these Broncos inside linebackers in Week 2.

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Key Gordon Fumble… Again

At least Melvin Gordon is consistent. His effort is consistent, but so are his fumbling problems. Not only will Gordon let go of the rock, but he also seems to do it at the most inopportune times.

Against the Seahawks, Gordon fumbled on fourth down trying to get the ball over the goal line. It was a play that could have put the Broncos over the top at the end of the game, but instead the Broncos defense was put back on the field. That’s not supposed to be a bad thing, but the Broncos defense did so poorly that Seattle didn’t punt until the fourth quarter.

After the Gordon fumble, I took to social media to profess my love for Javonte Williams. While Gordon was fumbling near pay dirt, I wanted to see Williams get that opportunity instead. Well, the joke was on me because later in the game Williams did get that chance only to fumble it himself. Perhaps the Broncos should just consider letting Wilson run a quarterback sneak next time.

Gordon needs to hang onto the rock. He led the team with 12 carries, but he finished second to Williams in terms of touches with 14 for him and 18 for Williams. Going forward, the split should be the same so long as Gordon can improve his ball security.

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Kid Isn’t Ready

The Broncos certainly hyped-up rookie wide receiver Montrell Washington all offseason. A fifth-round pick from Division II Samford, Washington was surprised he was drafted at all. At the time, I was perplexed by the pick. Yes, he is fast, quick, and agile. Yes, he tore up the Florida Gators in one game. However, I thought at the time there were better players available to draft.

One of those players, former Rutgers running back Isaih Pacheco, was my favorite in the fifth round. In Week 1, Pacheco scored a touchdown and led the Chiefs in rushing. Sure, it was a blowout against the Cardinals defense (led by Vance Joseph) but you could tell the game was not too big for Pacheco. Another player I wanted the Broncos to draft on Day 3 was UTSA cornerback Tariq Woolen. Well, the Seahawks drafted him, and he started in Week 1. Woolen had some poor plays, but for the most part he held his own against the Broncos passing attack.

The first possession of the Broncos got off to a bad start because of Washington. Catching the ball deep in his own end zone, the rookie decided to bring the ball out and was promptly stopped. As the game went on, and Seattle kept kicking off, Washington struggled to make an impact as a returner. With K.J. Hamler healthy, Washington’s role on offense was nonexistent. Again, he’s a good player, but why not draft him later? Instead of getting talent that can help now, the Broncos drafted a small-school prospect who may not make much of an impact this year as he gets used to the pro game. At least in Week 1, the results from Washington were poor.

Washington has a good skill set, and the team certainly likes him. We know Wilson likes him too, but right now he didn’t make an impact for the Broncos. That could change going forward, and I hope it does. I don’t want the pressure of the NFL, which is much greater than he experienced in college at Samford, to keep Washington from playing up to his potential.

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