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Broncos vs. Seahawks: The No Bull Review

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This game has been circled on my calendar since the Super Bowl. Not for the sake of revenge, but to find out what progress our team would make. Let's dig into our first loss of the season and find out more about our 2014 Denver Broncos.

You can't teach an old dog new tricks
You can't teach an old dog new tricks
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Let me start off by saying this was an extremely frustrating game for me to watch. Our team for some strange reason is just dead-set on being something they are not. After week 3, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Fox has stupidly gotten our team to be bound and determined to have a balanced offense with a solid running game. No matter what actually happens on the field he's going to keep banging his head against the wall and hoping a door swings open.

I've hoped for years that somewhere in the hierarchy of the Denver Broncos that our shot-callers would progress and grow with the team, but that is honestly wishful thinking. Our winning isn't going to be attributed to great play calling, scheming, or game-day decisions. It is going to come because of our players having to outplay our opponents without any game-day advantages that most coaches bring to the table.

Let's rant about this more in the comments and get on with the review.

Offense

The Good

Montee Ball had two very good pass blocks where he used proper leverage, read the pressure correctly, and bought Manning enough time to throw the ball.

Emmanuel Sanders is exactly what I hoped he could be for us: a speedy receiving option that can create space easily much like Wes Welker does but with a higher top speed.

We scored 20 points on the Seahawks in their house. I may disagree with how we called the game, but we were effective and were able to stay in the game. That is a big step forward from what we saw in the Super Bowl.

The Bad

Peyton Manning's accuracy is still a work in progress this year. He floated some too much and he overthrew a couple. It is nit-picky for sure, but that's what I see in my notes. I'm sure when he watches film on the game he's going to want a few of those back.

Our team had a lot of trouble with the noise. This is no surprise, but nevertheless it cost us dearly as on at least one occasion Peyton Manning handed off a draw play on 3rd and long because the ball was snapped too early.

Demaryius Thomas was invisible for a large portion of the game. Watching him run routes was painful...he didn't seem to be going all out and wasn't coming cleanly out of his breaks. If he has a foot injury, I'd rather him heal up and getsomeone in who can run routes than risk having a nagging injury long-term.

Montee Ball is no gravy train. Sorry Pete, but while I like what we've seen from Montee breaking tackles this year, he just has no burst, quicks, or cuts that lend anything special to our run game. I'd love to see him prove me wrong, but in three games so far this season (a small sample size to be sure), I don't see a special RB. I see a very mediocre RB who will succeed as his line succeeds and rarely make anything special happen.

Our offensive line still looks fairly good at pass blocking and fairly mediocre at run blocking. Please keep in mind that Seattle's front seven is pretty darn good when digesting this statement.

The Ugly

Our play calling was atrocious for most of the game. We are bound and determined to run on 1st down regardless of what the defense looks like. I noted two plays where the box count was eight and we ran the ball. The 1980's are calling you Denver...they want their football back.

Our vaunted screen game was completely destroyed by Seattle. See, unlike our team, it seems their coaches game plan and scout out the other team so they can counter that team's strengths.

Defense

A Solid Effort

Overall, I think you can see the Broncos have a pretty talented defense overall. Seattle has a powerful run game and a lot of weapons that I would love to have on our team as well.  They use misdirection a lot and run plays that put your defense in a position where you have one-on-one situations or it is a big play.

We did get pressure (as much as you can with a mobile QB), we played fairly solid coverage, and we didn't allow a bunch of big plays to happen. Sure Aqib Talib got smoked on a perfect pass, but you have to take that sometimes...even the great ones mess up. We all know from watching Champ Baily for so long that you have to just forget about it and move on. Aqib did that and I thought represented himself well (even on the TD he was right with his guy).

Weaknesses Exploited

During this offseason it was a big discussion point here at MHR about our Linebackers and whether we would add any talent there. I came out of the offseason saying that were very shallow and this is the first game where it really showed. I could honestly argue that our lack of talent at Linebacker cost us the game.

Brandon Marshall is doing a good job racking up tackles, but he doesn't have the athleticism or the diagnostic ability to fill in for us without being a liability. The same thing really holds true with Nate Irving. The problem for both of these guys is that we matched up against a team that can exploit them. Seattle has too much speed at the skill positions matched with power at RB and it caused us no end of difficulty at the 2nd level. Both of these guys did an admirable job trying to cover and react, but far too often they were a step behind or out of position.

The Pass Rush is Heating Up

One thing I'm pretty excited about coming out off this game is how well our pass rush is evolving. Demarcus Ware is a force of nature still and Von Miller is really starting to gear up into the level of play we saw him at before last year's weight experiment.

I fully expect as the season wears on for us to see bigger and bigger numbers out of our pass rush department. This really will benefit our whole defense as the linebackers won't have so much space to cover and our secondary will have more opportunities to break on poorly thrown balls.

That Last Drive

This one is for our boy Jack Del Rio. Dude...Seattle ran the same option play at least three times in their game winning drive. You didn't adjust. You had no answer. You had rookie Linebackers out there getting made to look like rookie linebackers. Do you realize you have a timeout?  If this is John Fox's call then I apologize and feel free to pass this message to him. You handed Seattle a touchdown because you didn't adjust in game to what was happening.

Final Thoughts

Hang your heads high, Broncos Country. We learned that our team can keep up with one of the best teams in the league. If we are blessed enough to meet them again this season, I really like our chances. Now we have two games worth of film for our coaches to use in order to accomplish the necessary cranial / rectal extraction needed so that we can beat Seattle.

Things to be proud of from this game:

  • We battled back and forced overtime
  • Our Special Teams played very solid
  • Our pass rush is amping up
  • Our secondary is pretty awesome