Yep, that was catastrophically one of the worst coaching decisions in Broncos' history, there is no justification, I don't care about the analytics, it was boneheaded and wrong on many levels. That said, lets take a rational look at the game.
Was the first half defensive performance bad, yep, really bad, almost like these guys hadn't played any preseason games together. Missed tackles, blown coverages, penalties, making Geno Smith look like the next incarnation of Patrick Mahomes, you are going to get that when guys haven't played much together in real game situations. But lets look at the 2nd half after adjustments, we held the Seahawks to zero points, and got the ball back for our offense when we needed to, Chubb finally showed up, and this started to look like the defense we imagined. I think as the season goes on, and barring major injuries, the defense should improve. Call it being rusty in the 1st half, but I think this defense is more like the 2nd half performers versus the 1st half.
Now lets talk the offense. Wilson is the real deal and it was so nice seeing a QB who could move the ball consistently and make plays. The running game looked great. And our TEs are actually being used, screen plays actually work, and Sutton and Juedy showed up when needed. Am I concerned with penalties, yes and no, I think the delay of game stuff will get cleaned up, what I am concerned about are the O-line penalties. These are not new, maybe it's a first game issue, but seeing how this has been a common issue for past 4 years I am at least concerned. What makes me hopeful though, even with that we now have a QB who can make a play to make up for penalties.
Bigger concern is the red zone efficiency, call it ego, bad play calls, poor execution in a tough environment, but we can't keep having the same issues of failing to score TDs when in the red zone. Whether this is a one game aberration or signs of a larger issues we will find out as the season progresses. The reality is we should of been able to have that game comfortably in hand at 30-17, but fumbling twice in the red zone gets you what we got. I have to believe we will be better, but again, time will tell.
I get the concern with the ST play, it looked like a repeat for last 4 years, bad play at every turn. Short returnable kickoffs, poor coverage, almost a blocked punt, poor choice in returning and then getting absolutely blown up on returns. This probably is my bigger concern going into the season. Washington looked good in preseason going against a lot of players not playing on teams now, last night he looked small and scared. That doesn't bode well going forward with a rookie returner. Give Seattle credit in they almost always have top 10 ST and they put a heavy emphasis on it. The problem is that unless you have those core players that really want to excel on ST, then it's hard to improve it when you are usually shuffling through back half of the roster guys every season to develop your teams. This may turn into our bane again this season.
I make no bones, I am a fan of Hackett, he's who I wanted here along with getting Wilson. But again, I can't excuse the bad choices and poor execution last night, that is on him and his staff. Right now I have faith that Hackett hopefully can put his ego aside and learn from this game and improve his methods, practice, and get this team better prepared and himself better prepared to make the right calls when needed. But like any HC, sometimes their Ego can get in the way. Again time will tell. I still have faith and I am not hitting the panic button.