The struggles in the red zone are now a trend.
In fact, goal-to-go situations are a major problem, too.
After starting the season 0-for-4, the Denver Broncos went 0-for-2 in the red zone on Sunday against the Houston Texans.
Wait, it gets worse.
As James Palmer pointed out on Twitter, the Broncos have had five straight goal-to-go drives without scoring a touchdown. That ties the longest such streak by any team to start a season in the last 30 seasons.
“We’re just going to have to be sure we evaluate everything,” Denver head coach Nathaniel Hackett said to the media after the game. “Whether it’s getting the personnels out there, or lack thereof, and making sure the plays are coming in nice and clean, and just getting into the huddle and out of the huddle.
“So, we just have to keep talking about that. I’ll talk with Russ (QB Russell Wilson), find out anything that I can do to help him make it better. That’s inexcusable. That’s on us, that’s us hurting ourselves.”
What makes the lack of success in the red zone so frustrating is the fact Wilson and the Broncos have been so close.
On Sunday, it appeared Courtland Sutton had a touchdown on Denver’s second offensive possession but couldn’t get his second down inbounds.
Whether execution or play calling, there’s no doubt the Broncos have to start finishing drives with touchdowns.
At least from Sunday’s game, Hackett seemed to get away from running the football inside the 10-yard line. Given the success of that aspect of Denver’s offense, it’s a little puzzling.
“When we got down there, we wanted to give Courtland a chance, early. It looked like we had the touchdown, that they ended up calling out. There were definitely some things that we liked in the pass game because of how they put everybody in the box. But in the end, we have to be able to run it down there, we have to run down the hill, and might have to run over somebody.”
The good news is that they will be incredibly difficult to beat when the Broncos get the red zone and goal-to-go issues corrected. Just look at the first two games. If Denver gets even a 50% clip, it wins in Seattle and Sunday’s game isn’t as close.
At this point, it’s just a matter of when they get corrected.
For all involved, it better happen sooner rather than later.
“When you think about the red zone, it comes down to making a crazy catch, a crazy run, a crazy play,” Wilson told the media after the game. “That’s what it is. We almost had one to Courtland today. We had a few the last game that he was maybe two inches — maybe a half an inch out of bounds on the spread right or whatever. A couple of plays here we went offsides and flipped last week for a touchdown. (FB/TE Andrew) Beck walked into the end zone. It really comes down to these minuscule things and we’re growing together and we’re going to fix that.
“That’s the great part because once we do that, with our defense and how great they’re playing and how well we’ve moved the ball for the most part ... there’s been some struggles here and there but that’s football. They have good players on that side of the ball, too. But how confidently we believe that when we’ve got our guys in the room rolling and doing our things, we just have to make those plays. That’s what it comes down to. We just have to believe in the next one and the next one is going to be a touchdown. That’s the thing about the red zone, sometimes they’re going to make stops, and the next play, you’re going to make the next one. That’s the mentality you have to have.”