Despite a dominating offensive performance, outgaining the Seattle Seahawks by nearly two hundred yards, the Denver Broncos couldn’t get out of their own way in this game.
As much as the Seahawks kept hanging around, the Broncos defense kept them from getting too far in this with all of the turnovers from Case Keenum to give the Broncos a 27-24 victory and a 1-0 start to the 2018 regular season.
To start the game, the Seahawks won the coin toss and chose to defer. The Broncos offense will take the field first to open the 2018 regular season. The kickoff hit the crossbar giving the Broncos the ball at their own 25-yard line.
#Broncos quarterback Case Keenum, Royce Freeman, DT and Jano take the field for the first time this season. #BroncosCountry was raucous and brought the Rocky Mountain Thunder. pic.twitter.com/S82vwawu5N— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) September 9, 2018
Case Keenum’s first pass was a quick one over the middle to Demaryius Thomas that was high and uncatchable. Royce Freeman took the next play 13-yards and a first down, but Thomas was caught holding on the outside that broke Freeman for another six or seven yards.
On second and 14, Keenum looked to Thomas again at the first down marker, but the pass was broken up and nearly intercepted by the Seahawks defense. Keenum pump faked once and lobbed it up and over a defender to Emmanuel Sanders at the first down marker for the first down conversion.
After no gain on first down from Freeman, rookie running back Phillip Lindsay picked up four yards on second down. From third and six, Keenum went too high again, this time to Matt LaCosse to force a punt.
Marquette King’s kick was nearly blocked and may have actually been tipped, but it still traveled far enough to put the Seahawks inside their own 20-yard line to start the first offensive drive.
On the first snap, the Broncos defense reared its ugly head with a delayed safety blitz by Darian Stewart that resulted in a sack on Russell Wilson for a 10-yard loss.
Wilson had all day to throw on the next play, but no one ever got open and he was forced to throw it away. On third and 16, the Seahawks run the ball inside to give their punter some room as the Broncos forced a quick three and out.
Adam Jones took the punt back 23-yards with some nifty moves to break through the muck that would have given the Broncos offense excellent field position to start their second offensive series of the game. However, a holding penalty brought it all the way back and then some with the Broncos offense at their own 10-yard line.
Keenum opened up with a quick slant pass to Sanders on first down. However, after a first down pick up from Freeman, Keenum threw a pass deep down the sideline that safety Earl Thomas jumped in front of for the easy interception and returned it all the way back to the Broncos 14-yard line.
From there it was easy money, as Wilson hit his tight end Will Dissly who was wide open in the end zone for the touchdown with Bradley Chubb and Darian Stewart chasing in coverage.
Seahawks 7, Broncos 0.
Keenum back after that interception hit Courtland Sutton over the middle for a quick 20-yard gain on first down. Thomas and Keenum finally get on the same page on a quick throw on the next play to get the first down, but then Thomas dropped an easy pass over the middle that could have gone for a big play.
Thomas caught the next pass for quick ten yards and a first down, though. They seem to be working in a rhythm, but there have been several miscommunication issues between Keenum and Thomas.
Sanders caught the next pass on a quick toss outside to get the Broncos down inside the Seahawks 30-yard line. On second and five, Keenum hit Lindsay in the flat for a shot pass who then took it to the house for the touchdown. And yes, Broncos fans went bonkers.
Broncos 7, Seahawks 7.
The Seahawks began their next drive with consecutive runs for a combined seven yards. On third and three, Russell had his pass batted down by Adam Gotsis for another three and out.
After a great punt that was downed at the Broncos two-yard line, Keenum threw a pass out to Thomas at the goal line who broke it free for a 23-yard gain and a first down. A few plays later, Keenum went deep to Tim Patrick who was clearly interfered with. On third and two, Lindsay took a pitch outside for a first down.
Freeman took a pitch outside for six yards on first down on the next play. A short gain on the next run from Freeman put the Broncos into a third and three situation. Lindsay was the target on a quick toss outside, but he dropped the pass and wouldn’t have gotten the first down anyway as the Seahawks read it perfectly.
King’s punt was perfect as it bounced out of bounds at the Seahawks four-yard line.
Bradley Roby was leaped over by running back Chris Carson for a 24-yard gain and then on the final play of the first quarter Will Dissly beat Chubb over the middle and then beat just about every other Broncos defender on a crazy 66-yard catch and run by the big tight end to setup a first and goal for the Seahawks.
After a two-yard loss on a run outside by Rashad Penny, Chris Harris Jr. made a fantastic play to break up what would have been a touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin. On third and goal from the seven, Wilson hit Brandon Marshall (the wide receiver) for the touchdown, but Marshall pushed off for the offensive pass interference.
Fro their own 17, Wilson kept it short over the middle incomplete to force a field goal from Sebastian Janikowski.
Seahawks 10, Broncos 7.
First downs have been find for the Broncos in this game so far as Freeman added another 5-yard gain on first down. Keenum then hit tight end Jake Button a short pass who was able to get a seven-yard gain out of it.
Phillip Lindsay should have been stopped for a loss on the next play, but he quickly dodged inside for a nine-yard gain. He took the next handoff for another six yards and a first down to keep the chains moving for the Broncos on this drive.
From there, Emmanuel Sanders took over. After a short five-yard reception, he took a pass deep over the middle breaking a tackle and front flipping into the end zone for a 43-yard touchdown reception and the lead for the Broncos.
Broncos 14, Seahawks 10.
The Seahawks nearly came out with a huge run to open their next drive, but a critical hold on Brandon Marshall who would have blown that play up sets the Seahawks back 10-yards negating what was a 44-yard run.
A false start penalty and a short pass, kept the Seahawks in a second and 19 situation. The Broncos keep things conservative, giving up a 10-yard throw on the next play to give Russell a less than impossible third and nine. Todd Davis brought the pressure up the middle to force the errant throw that would bring on the punting unit for the Seahawks.
A poor punt, set the Broncos up with quality field position at their own 37-yard line.
Keenum hit a back shoulder fade to tight end Jeff Heuerman for a quick 15-yard gain out to the Seahawks 48-yard line. Lindsay showed some toughness who somehow powered through a linebacker and a safety for an 11-yard gain and another first down.
Another handoff inside to Lindsay went for five more yards to the Seahawks 32-yard line. From there he was finally stopped for no gain by Bobby Wagner. On third down and six, Keenum threw Sutton out of bounds.
From 51 yards out, Brandon McManus was perfect down the middle to extend the Broncos lead to 17-10 with 5:25 left in the first half.
Broncos 17, Seahawks 10.
Keenum was having himself a good day up this point, going 13/21 for 196 yards with two touchdowns and interception against that Legion of Whom.
Domata Peko jump started the Seahawks next drive with a personal foul, setting the Seahawks up at their own 42-yard line. Two plays later, Dissly continued his shredding of the Broncos defense with another huge pass play down the seam. Dissly has 105 yards and a touchdown reception in this game.
On the next play, Von Miller finally got involved with a huge sack on Russell Wilson.
On second down and 16 from the Broncos 38-yard line, Russell went with a screen pass to Penny for four yards.
Miller sacked Wilson again on third down, forcing a fumble.
The Seahawks were fortunate to maintain possession to setup a 51-yard field goal attempt from Janikowski. Janikowski was wide-left on the kick, but an offsides penalty by the Broncos let him come back out for another try, which he promptly missed again wide-left.
Keenum, from his own 36-yard line, hits Emmanuel Sanders for a 31-yard gain to instantly put the Broncos in scoring range with less than two minutes to go in the half.
After a quick screen pass to Devontae Booker, Keenum threw across his body behind Butt that was intercepted by the Seahawks to end the Broncos hopes of adding to their lead before the end of the half.
Wilson then hit Carson on two short passes underneath for ten yards each. Their hopes of adding some points were then dashed by Shaquil Barrett who brought Wilson down for yet another sack by the Broncos defense. This one for a whooping 20+ yard loss to end the half.
The Seahawks open the third quarter with a short run and a short pass, but it was enough to setup a third and one which they could have easily converted had they stayed on the ground. However, they decided to go deep down to a tight end that Darian Stewart broke up to force the punt.
Pinned down at their own six yard line after a booming 69-yard punt, Keenum looked to rebound from that interception late that ended the Broncos scoring opportunity in the first half.
A quick pass to Sanders picked up five yards on first down, then Freeman on second down couldn’t get through the muck for more than two yards. On third and three, Thomas was wide open at the sticks for an easy pitch and catch for eight yards.
Keenum went straight back to Thomas on the next play for a quick ten yards and another first down.
After two short inside runs from Devontae Booker for a combined total of four yards, the Broncos found themselves in a third and a long six. A false start penalty on Sanders set the Broncos back, which forced Keenum to hold the ball longer than he wanted giving the Seahawks pass rush enough time to bring him down for the sack.
On the Seahawks next drive, they got what looked like a quick first down when Von Miller came up and just yanked the ball out of the running backs hands for the turnover.
Unfortunately, Keenum would immediately give the ball right back with his third interception of the game on a terrible pass deep that was returned 39-yards all the way down to the Broncos 41-yard line.
"Here you go!" - Keenum, five seconds later. https://t.co/h5PHSrDIBn— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) September 9, 2018
The Seahawks were not going to waste that opportunity as Russell found Penny beating Davis for a 15-yard gain down to the Broncos 23-yard line two plays into their drive. After an incompletion in the end zone and a short run, the Seahawks were faced with a third and seven.
Despite being 0/6 on third downs, Wilson had all day to throw and found Marshall (the wide receiver) in the end zone with Bradley Roby in coverage for the touchdown.
Broncos 17, Seahawks 17.
With three interception, it was time to settle down a bit on offense. In order to do that, the Broncos were going to need to find some rushing attack. Freeman was stuffed on first down for a one-yard gain and Lindsay was held to a one-yard gain on second down.
On third and eight, Keenum overthrew Sanders at the stick who was held to give the Broncos a much needed first down.
Freeman took the handoff on the next play for a hard fought five yards. Keenum was hit as he went to throw down the sideline to Jake Butt and the pass was incomplete. On third and five, Keenum’s pass was just too high for a wide open Tim Patrick to bring on the punting unit.
In fairness to Keenum, Patrick mistimed his jump and that was likely why the pass was too high.
After a short three-yard run and an incompletion in the flat to Carson, the Seahawks were faced with another third down. Russell was intercepted by Justin Simmons who read the play perfectly.
The Broncos offense continued to flounder. After Freeman was stuffed on first down, Keenum was nearly intercepted by Dion Jordan on a tipped ball, and then Keenum followed it up with an uncatchable pass outside to bring Brandon McManus onto the field for a 53-yard field goal.
Broncos 20, Seahawks 17.
After the Seahawks were gifted their first first down on their next drive, the Broncos defense shut down Penny for a one-yard loss. Penny was targeted again on a quick pass as Wilson was being heavily pressured by the Broncos front. On third and 11, Marshall caught a pass in triple coverage for the conversion to end the third quarter.
With a new set of downs, the Seattle Seahawks start the fourth quarter out near midfield down three points to the Denver Broncos.
Adam Gotsis tipped a screen pass attempt from Russell Wilson to Chris Carson on first down. On second and 10, Wilson went deep to a wide open Tyler Lockett for the 51-yard touchdown reception and the lead.
Seahawks 24, Broncos 20.
With their backs against the ropes, the Broncos turned to Lindsay who took an outside pitch for 14-yards and a first down. Lindsay followed it up with another 5-yard gain on an inside run. On second and five from the shotgun, Keenum with a play-action pass to Courtland Sutton for a 23-yard gain down to the Seahawks 31-yard line.
Out of the hurry up, Keenum tried another play-action, but it was read perfectly by the Seahawks. Keenum threw it away, but Ronald Leary was called for offensive holding to set the Broncos back and killed momentum.
From the Seahawks 41-yard line, the Broncos tried an end-around with Emmanuel Sanders that went for seven yards. Another short pass to Lindsay goes for three-yards to setup a third and 10. Keenum looked for Jake Butt over the middle for a big time gain down to the Seahawks 8-yard line and a 22-yard gain.
A roughing-the-passer penalty on Dion Jordan put the Broncos inside the five-yard line.
From the four yard line, Keenum rolled outside to fire a pass to Demaryius Thomas at the sideline that was as close of a toe tap touchdown catch as you can get.
I shall swear off complaining about the refs for at least 20 minutes after they reversed their call from incomplete to touchdown.— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) September 9, 2018
Broncos 27, Seahawks 24.
After a quick slant to Brandon Marshall for a first down, the Seahawks were held on their next two plays for seven yards. On third and three from the shotgun, Wilson was flushed outside and then back inside right into the waiting arms of Von Miller for the big time sack on third down.
That was Miller’s third sack in this game.
From their own 13-yard line, Keenum faked run to pass outside to Sanders for a quick seven yard gain to open up the Broncos next drive. Lindsay continued his incredible NFL debut with a nifty run inside for five yards.
The Broncos kept things on the ground with Lindsay on the next two plays, but they didn’t go for much. On third and six, Keenum was nearly sacked so he flipped it out to Devontae Booker who ran it for four yards for a big stop for the Seahawks.
Marquette King booted a 49-yarder that was returned just one yard by Tyler Lockett who was met by Tim Patrick.
On first down, the Seahawks tried to run inside with Penny, but Derek Wolfe read it perefctly and tackled him for a two-yard loss. Wilson found an open wide receiver outside to get those yards back and then some, then on third and five Wilson was blitzed by Chris Harris Jr. who tripped him up for yet another Broncos sack by the defense.
The Broncos have sacked Russell Wilson six times up to this point in the game.
After being relatively quiet since the first quarter, rookie Royce Freeman had one of his biggest runs of the game with a 17-yard rumble to open up the Broncos next drive. Freeman followed up with another five-yard gain on his next carry as the Seahawks burn their second timeout with 3:10 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Freeman continued his game icing march down the field, breaking off a 14-yard run for another first down down to the Seahawks 44-yard line and the two-minute warning.
After two short runs, the Broncos were faced with a third and seven with 1:55 remaining after the Seahawks called their final timeout. Keenum handed it off to Lindsay for a short gain to bring out the punting unit to pin the Seahawks deep.
Wilson connected on his first pass play to get an easy first down, but a botched snap kept the clock running. A false start penalty and a clock run off all but ended the Seahawks hopes of a comeback.
The Denver Broncos have deactivated quarterback Kevin Hogan, wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie, cornerback Isaac Yiadom, inside linebacker Alexander Johnson, defensive end DeMarcus Walker, tackle Elijah Wilkinson, and guard Sam Jones.
Meanwhile, the Seattle Seahawks have safety Shalom Luani, running back Mike Davis, linebacker K.J. Wright, guard Jordan Simmons, guard D.J. Fluker, and defensive tackle Nazair Jones deactivated for this game.
Both teams seem to be on the downward trend, but Seattle has been able to stay competitive through the sheer will of a legitimate franchise quarterback in Russell Wilson while the Broncos saw their house of cards crumble around Trevor Siemian and two other scrubs last season.
However, with the addition of Case Keenum and a defense that looks loaded with talent, the Broncos could be a team that surprises a lot of people this season. On the other side, the Seahawks defense has been completely decimated by departures, injuries, and holdouts. Denver could be catching them at the perfect time to jump start a new season with good vibes.
Here is how to watch.
When: Sunday, September 9, 2018 at 2:25 p.m. Mile High time
Where: Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver, Colorado
Announcers: Dick Stockton (play-by-play), Mark Schlereth (analyst), Jennifer Hale (sideline reporting)
Radio: KOA - 850 AM | 94.1 FM & The Fox - 103.5 FM | Spanish Radio KNVR 1150 AM
The Broncos are three-point home favorites against the Seahawks here, with the over/under at 42. Since 2001, the Broncos own a 19-1 record at home within the first two weeks of the season. They’ll be looking to keep that streak going.
With the Seahawks being a former AFC West division rival, there is quite a history between these two teams. The Broncos command a 34-19 all-time regular season record against the Seahawks.
However, the only win that mattered between these two was the 43-8 drubbing the Broncos suffered to the Seahawks in Super Bowl 48. That is a loss that this franchise will forever be looking to exact revenge on.
Mile High Report’s Ian St. Clair and Adam Malnati break down the keys to victory for the Broncos over the Seahawks in the latest episode of MHR Radio.
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Broncos Regular Season Schedule 2018
|1||Sep 9||vs Seattle Seahawks||W 27-24||FOX|
|2||Sep 16||vs Oakland Raiders||W 20-19||CBS|
|3||Sep 23||at Baltimore Ravens||L 27-14||CBS|
|4||Oct 1||vs Kansas City Chiefs (MNF)||L 27-23||ESPN|
|5||Oct. 7||at New York Jets||L 34-16||CBS|
|6||Oct 14||vs Los Angeles Rams||L 23-20||FOX|
|7||Oct 18||at Arizona Cardinals (TNF)||W 45-10||FOX|
|8||Oct 28||at Kansas City Chiefs||L 30-23||CBS|
|9||Nov 4||vs Houston Texans||L 19-17||CBS|
|11||Nov 18||at Los Angeles Chargers||W 23-22||CBS|
|12||Nov 25||vs Pittsburgh Steelers||W 24-17||CBS|
|13||Dec 2||at Cincinnati Bengals||W 24-10||CBS|
|14||Dec 9||at San Francisco 49ers||L 20-14||CBS|
|15||Dec 15||vs Cleveland Browns||L 17-16||NFLN|
|16||Dec 24||at Oakland Raiders (MNF)||L 27-14||ESPN|
|17||Dec 30||vs Los Angeles Chargers||2:25 PM||CBS|