Seahawks vs. Broncos: Breaking Down Denver's 30-10 Loss

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Seahawks vs. Broncos: Breaking Down Denver's 30-10 Loss
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Although not reflected in the score, the Denver Broncos' starters actually played a pretty solid game. The Broncos led 10-9 at the half, and it wasn't until Russell Wilson entered the game that the second- and third-team defense started to crack. 

Peyton Manning will continue to be an important factor along with the running game and the defense. That pretty much covers all the bases and all three of them performed well—at times—against the Seattle Seahawks. The Broncos are still a work in progress, but the team appears to be improving each week.

I've selected a few plays that highlight strengths and weaknesses that popped up during the game against the Seahawks as well as interesting plays that were successful.

 

Rushing Offense

Play No. 1

Offensive Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB

Defensive Personnel: Nickel

Willis McGahee is going to hit the A-gap, but if he hits it too early he's simply going to run into the back of his offensive lineman. There is a linebacker that needs to be blocked for McGahee to get more than a yard or two.

Zane Beadles blocks the linebacker and Willis McGahee patiently wait for his running lane to open. If McGahee doesn't wait for his running lane, he might just run into the back of Beadles and be stopped for a short gain.

McGahee bursts through the hole and once it is open lowers his should to fall forward for a big gain. The net result is a 13-yard gain down the the 3-yard line with three opportunities to punch it in for six points.

 

Play No. 2

Offensive Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB

Defensive Personnel: 4-3

After two failed attempts to get into the end zone, McGahee again shows impressive vision and patience and punched it into the end zone, and again his blocking is well executed to get him there. The play is an outside run to the right with the left guard pulling from left to right to provide a kickout block of the second defender, with Chris Gronkowski picking up the first guy.

Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Touchdown.

There is a lot of traffic, but McGahee sees a tiny opening and will dive through it into the end zone. It wasn't a perfect play, but the blockers got just enough of the defenders and McGahee did the rest. Really nice running by the veteran.

 

Run Defense

Play No. 1

Offensive Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB

Defensive Personnel: Nickel

This is great execution by the Seahawks offensive line, but it's also a good learning opportunity for the Broncos on how to defend the run from the nickel defense. 

The left guard doubles the defensive tackle so the Seahawks get a good push to the left side and open up a hole. The right guard pulls around the center to the left to pick up one of the linebackers, leaving Wesley Woodyard as the only player that can make the play.

The right guard misses his block but manages to slow down Joe Mays, and Woodyard is gobbled up by the left guard, who did a great job to disengage from his double and get to the linebacker. Woodyard basically stepped right into the block instead of into the developing running lane. 

The result of the play was a 12-yard gain, and Mike Adams had to step up and make the tackle. If the running back wasn't Leon Washington, the Broncos could have given up much more.

 

Passing Offense

Play No. 1

Offensive Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB (Shotgun)

Defensive Personnel: Nickel

This is a basic-level concept that the Broncos ran twice in the final two minutes of the first half. Manning is going to be reading the linebacker and the deep safety to determine where he throws the ball, and he'll also have a check-down option if both are defended. 

The linebacker steps up and Manning has Demaryius Thomas with a step on the defensive back. Manning has a very clear passing lane thanks to good protection and hits Thomas in stride.

Thomas is dragged down by the defender, but had the defender been playing off another yard or had Thomas been able to sell his route a little better, he could have turned it up field for a huge gain. 

 

Play No. 2

Offensive Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB (Shotgun)

Defensive Personnel: Nickel

This was a laser strike to Jacob Tamme from Manning moments after being knocked down for the first time this preseason. The two inside receivers ran down the seam and the outside receivers ran 15-yard hitches. 

This ended up being the perfect call to beat the zone coverage of the Seahawks. Notice on this play that Jacob Tamme and the slot receiver on the opposite side were wide open. The result was a 13-yard gain to the 21-yard line, and it set up a Broncos score.

 

Play No. 3

Offensive Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB (Shotgun)

Defensive Personnel: Nickel

The last one is the dropped touchdown by Tamme. On this play, Tamme is running a 10-yard out route near the the goal line. Decker runs to the left corner and the two receivers on the right are basically decoys intended to take the defensive backs with them into the end zone to open up the underneath pass to the running back. 

Manning can see the entire field, and as soon as Tamme releases past the linebacker, he knows he's going to have him wide open.

Unfortunately, Manning guns it to Tamme and he can't hang onto the pass. The Broncos kick the field goal. Had the linebacker stayed with Tamme, Manning would have dumped it off to the running back in the right flat with his job being to score or get out of bounds.

The Broncos has some minor corrections to make, but the starters played better than the stats or score indicated, and with two more weeks to work out the kinks they should be more than ready for the regular season. 

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