With all eyes on them and high expectations with the acquisition of future Hall of Fame quarterback Russell Wilson, the Denver Broncos lost their first game of the season against Wilson’s former team, the Seattle Seahawks, 16-17 due mainly to poor clock management and terrible offensive play-calling by rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett and his coaching staff.
The game started with an impressive drive by the Seahawks, which ended with a 38-yard touchdown pass from newly named QB1 Geno Smith to veteran tight end Will Dissly. The Broncos then followed up with a good drive of their own, which resulted in a 30-yard field goal by long-time Bronco Brandon McManus.
— NFL (@NFL) September 13, 2022
Wilson would throw his first touchdown as a Bronco late in the second half on a pass to former Alabama Crimson Tide wideout Jerry Jeudy that would tie the game at 10. Geno Smith and the Seattle offense would respond by scoring their second touchdown of the game, another pass by Smith but this time to tight end Colby Parkinson, to take a 17-10 lead. The Broncos would end up nailing a field goal at the buzzer to take a 17-13 deficit into halftime.
However, the high scoring would end up stopping after the first half, as only three more points were scored in the game. The Denver Broncos had three trips to the red zone in the second half of this game and only wound up with three points. This occurred mainly due to the horrible clock management by the staff and players, as Denver would repeatedly take a very long time to get their play in and thus have multiple delay of game penalties being called while in the red zone. Yes, it is Nathaniel Hackett’s first game as an NFL head coach, but there are absolutely zero excuses to do such a poor job with getting your plays in on time; it should also be noted that it is unacceptable as well for Russell Wilson to allow this to happen as he is known and has earned his title as one of the best quarterbacks in the league as well as one of the most respected leaders in the game.
GOAL LINE STAND. @Seahawks
— NFL (@NFL) September 13, 2022
Another lack of execution by Hackett and his staff was in the offensive play-calling department. In the majority of their red zone opportunities in the second half, Hackett and company decided to call passing plays more than runs while having arguably the best running back tandem in the NFL in youngster Javonte Williams and veteran Melvin Gordon. It makes zero sense to be at the three-yard line and call multiple passing plays in a row. By doing that, you are only making it harder on your players while at the same time making it less difficult for the opposition.
To add to the poor decision-making by the first-time head coach, with a little under one minute left to go and three timeouts, Hackett decided to let over 20 seconds come off the clock and then call a timeout to attempt a 64-yard field goal attempt rather than quickly stopping the clock and giving his team more time on a short yardage situation on fourth and five.
Many Hackett supporters will now use the “it was his first game” excuse, but it would be understandable for Broncos Country to be worried right now. Hackett has arguably a top-five roster in football and a roster that most, if not all, head coaches would do anything to have. Regardless, it is simply inexcusable to have such a lack of execution from your coaching staff and star quarterback, especially in crucial moments with the game on the line.
The Broncos will look to bounce back in their home opener on Sunday against the Houston Texans.
As for Seattle, Pete Carroll and his coaching staff did a great job putting their players in the best possible situations to succeed. Geno Smith also did a tremendous job leading his team through excellent decision-making and accurate passing. Smith showed why he won the Seahawks quarterback competition over Drew Lock. A shocking and impressive performance came from the Seahawks defense with former Bronco Shelby Harris leading the way on the defensive line; rookie cornerback Tariq Woolen also should some great flashes in his NFL debut; the lengthy young corner will be fun to watch for years to come. The Seahawks will look to take this strong start into San Francisco as they face the 49ers in their week two matchup.
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