After spending much of the past 24 hours raging over a host of things the Denver Broncos did or didn’t do and over head coach Nathaniel Hackett’s more than questionable game management late, there are reasons to still feel confident in this team despite the 17-16 defeat to the Seattle Seahawks.
There are so many things that went wrong for Denver. Before we get into why the sky isn’t falling, let’s do a brief and painful recap of the bad from that game.
- Four trips to the red zone, six points.
- Two goal line fumbles that Seattle recovered.
- Lost track of all the penalties.
- Taking the game out of Russell Wilson’s hands for a 64-yard field goal attempt.
It was a sloppy, error-filled game for the Broncos. They almost looked like a team that hadn’t played in a game for almost a year. Oh yeah, the didn’t play in the preseason so it has been almost a year for many of those starters.
In any case, coach Hackett inexplicably defending his decision to take Russell Wilson out of the game on a fourth and five for an improbably field goal attempt. Teams convert on 4th down and five yards on 49% of attempts. That is a damn sight better than the 8/70 kickers are from 64 yards or greater. Just sayin’...
Given that specifically, Hackett won’t be making my list for why the sky isn’t falling. He is a rookie head coach and this is something he’ll need to reflect on and learn from, along with his clock management. All of these things rookie head coaches tend to struggle with.
No, the reason the sky isn’t falling is due to the missed opportunities. This tweet summed up a good number of those literal inches worth of miss opportunity.
Football is such a crazy (and beautiful) sport.— RK (@RyanKoenigsberg) September 13, 2022
The Broncos were a couple inches away from beating the Seahawks by double digits.
Instead, we're all in meltdown mode. pic.twitter.com/ftQgTjWs2S
Missed opportunities mean that the Broncos had plenty of chances to not only win this game but to win comfortably. That means these are issues they could clean up and improve on. It’s hard to improve when you are not converting third downs or moving the football consistently.
Here are some stats from Monday’s game that should give us hope better days are ahead:
- Russell Wilson went 29/42 for 340 yards and a touchdown.
- Javonte Williams average 6.1 yards per carry and had 11 receptions for 65 yards. He had 108 total yards in the game.
- Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton combined for 8 catches for 174 yards and a touchdown.
- Broncos were 8/15 on third down and had zero three and outs.
- 433 total yards on offense and nearly 34 minutes in time of possession.
- Defense shut out the Seahawks in the second half.
All of the bad is correctable and all of the good is what we all were hoping for from this team to start the season. So no, the sky isn’t falling, but they better turn things around immediately. The AFC is too strong to be dropping games to teams led by Geno Smith.
While I do think the honeymoon is over for Nathaniel Hackett, he has 16 more games to prove he can hang in the NFL. He certainly has the roster to be successful. Beginning in Week 2, they need to deliver.