The Denver Broncos were beaten Saturday in Seattle - literally and figuratively.
The Broncos were dominated in three phases in their Week Two preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. In less than two quarters, the Seahawks had scored on offense, defense, and special teams. Russell Wilson and Seattle's running attack proved formidable, while their return game and defense proved opportunistic.
Seattle has TDs on offense, defense and special teams. Other than that, it's a swell game for the #Broncos. 24-7, Denver trails.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 18, 2013
Sloppy football by the Broncos led to three Seattle takeaways and a strong first half lead. The Seahawks forced three turnovers in the first half to take a 33-7 lead over the Broncos in Week Two preseason action. They would hold on to win 40-10
But a preseason loss is just a preseason loss - the more serious concern for the Broncos is the slew of injuries they suffered in the game. Derek Wolfe was taken off the field by ambulance; Louis Vasquez left late in the left half with a knee injury, and Champ Bailey left around the same time due to foot pain.
Despite the offensive woes and turnovers, Peyton Manning was efficient, and his hurry-up offensed churned out a lot of yards. He and Wes Welker also connected for the first time - Denver’s first offensive touchdown of the preseason came on a nine-play, 80-yard scoring drive capped by an 11-yard TD pass from Manning to Welker.
Manning's impressive drives would continue, and he ran Ronnie Hillman into the Seattle fire on play after play. The problem: Hillman couldn't take the heat. After Hillman converted a clutch fourth down at the Seattle five-yard line early in the second quarter, the Broncos appeared poised to score with a first and goal at the two-yard line. Instead, Hillman would fumble just before the football crossed the goal line, and Brandon Browner returned the fumble 106 yards for a Seattle touchdown, giving Seattle a 24-7 lead.
Manning played five series (almost the entire half) and finished his night completing 11-of-16 passes (68.8%) for 163 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions (122.7 passer rating).
The Broncos could have lost two big players tonight. DE Derek Wolfe was taken away by ambulance on a stretcher and RG Louis Vasquez left the game with a knee injury. Both of these guys are key players to the success of the Broncos in 2013, so all of Broncos Country was holding their breath.
Exhale Broncos: So far all tests on Derek Wolfe are negative. Running a battery of tests: MRI, X-rays, CT. So far negative.— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) August 18, 2013
RG Louis Vasquez's knee flared up. But doesn't appear to be serious— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) August 18, 2013
It looks like both escaped major injuries, so we all can exhale and relax. Champ Bailey was also seen limping at half time, but no update on his condition has been released. It did not seem serious though.
Re: Derek Wolfe: All tests were negative and he will fly home with the team.— Denver Broncos (@DenverBroncos) August 18, 2013
Fox also reported that Welker (rt ankle sprain) Bailey (lft foot) Bradley (lft wrist), Vasquez (lft knee) all left the game with injuries— Denver Broncos (@DenverBroncos) August 18, 2013
The Broncos didn't have their A game out there, succumbing to fumbles, missed tackles, missed blocks, and poor tackling. The Broncos offense had two costly fumbles. Julius Thomas had the ball ripped out of his hands by Seattle CB Brandon Browner, and Running Back Ronnie Hillman fumbled the ball at the goal line - a hiccup that led to a touchdown and a 14-point Seattle Seahawks swing. The Broncos special teams unit also gave up a 107 yard kick return to Seattle return man Jermaine Kearse. Overall it was a sloppy, sloppy game - one that even the fact that it was the second week of the preseason can excuse.