11:23 PM ET
ESPN Senior Writer
- for the Denver Post and Fall Keishan News has covered the Broncos for nine years
- Previously covered the Steelers, Bills and Titans
- Pro Football Hall of Famer
Since Selectors since 1999
Seattle– The Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos 17-16 on Monday night as Russell Wilson, who played his first 10 seasons in Seattle, was beaten by Jayno Smith.
With all the speculation surrounding Monday night’s season opener about how Wilson will be welcomed in his first game with his old club, the loudest is his former backup.
and steal the show.
Relentlessly ruling Wilson as the boos, the Lumen Field crowd celebrated Smith’s every big play with the chant “GENO, GENO!” And there were enough of them — including a pair of first-half touchdown passes — to give Seattle a 17-16 victory.
It will take years to determine if the Seahawks made the right move by trading Wilson in March for a slew of draft picks instead of trying to make the best team in franchise history The quarterback works with the team. A game, while exciting, doesn’t validate the move. But it did bring some immediate gratification for the Seahawks — and to give their fans hope this season won’t be as tough as everyone thinks it is.
QB fault: making his first start in Week 1 for the first time since 2014, Smith doesn’t look like a long-term substitute, expecting him to be just a game manager. He looks like an NFL starter. Smith completed his first 13 passes, going 17-of-18 from the field, with two touchdowns in a near-perfect first half. He’s accurate and avoids the big mistakes that plagued him in key moments when he filled Wilson last season. He also plays with his legs, stepping up in the pocket to escape pressure and avoid killer sacks in the process. Smith was 23 of 28 for 195 yards and two touchdown passes.
Buying Seattle tight end’s breakout performance: A common perception within team headquarters this offseason is that tight end will be a more important part of the Seahawks offense this season — because Whichever quarterback replaces Wilson will be more prone to shooting than him. In what looked like a prescient idea Monday night, Will Disley, Noah Fant and Colby Parkinson combined for eight passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Their nine targets are six fewer than Seattle’s catchers. Seattle acquired Fant in the Wilson trade and re-signed Disley for three years and $24 million after Disley tested free agency. When another team struggled to catch him, the cost of signing him went up. that team? Broncos.
Key matches: In the third straight quarter, the Broncos drove to Seattle’s 1-yard line and appeared to be poised to score a touchdown. Both times, the Seahawks defense kept them out of the end zone by forcing them to fumble on the goal line. Outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu stripped Broncos linebacker Javonte Williams in Game 2 as part of a stellar Seattle debut that also included a sack, a defensive pass and seven tackles. The Seahawks signed Nwosu to help them put more emphasis on the 3-4 forward this season. The two-year, $19.055 million contract he signed in March makes him the highest-paid free agent under general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll. The Seahawks kept Denver at six points on four trips to the red zone. — Brady Henderson
What to know is underrated Statistics for: Gino Smith is the third since 1990 to complete four points per task guard his first 13 passes in Week 1 — with Gardner Minshew (2019 Jaguars) and Jim Kelly (1990 Bills).
Next game: at the 49ers (4: Sept. 18 at 5 p.m. ET)
After an offseason full of hopes and dreams, quarterback Russell Wilson arrives in Denver, here’s the Broncos defense
Led by new defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, the Broncos try to be aggressive on the pass rush, trying to keep the ball from Seahawks wide receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett took away, but the Broncos defense didn’t settle down until outside linebacker Randy Gregory took the ball away from Metcalf in the third quarter.
So Wilson’s 340-yard passing and one touchdown was almost an unremarkable footnote in Seattle’s 17-16 victory that ended with Brandon McManus A missed shot from 64 yards ends.
Denver’s defensive assessment won’t be a carefree stroll. The Seahawks tight end had six 98-yard passes and two touchdowns before halftime, while Seahawks quarterback Gino Smith finished the game’s first 13 on 17-for-18 shooting in the first half Two passes, two touchdowns.
Key gameplay: The Broncos struggled from the start and never took the lead. Their night ended when McManus missed a 64-yard field goal attempt with 14 seconds left. With 1:11 left, Wilson hit Javonte Williams with a 9-yard pass for a 3-pointer and 14 on the Seattle 46’s fourth-and-5. On the third pass, the Broncos cut the time to 20 seconds, called a timeout, and missed the field goal.
Disturbing trends : Week 1 overreactions are just as old as the NFL, but given that the Broncos are in the division of the other three teams The team had a quarterback in the Pro Bowl, and Smith’s 17-for-18 passing in the first half was not to be overlooked.
While the Broncos did harass Smith a bit and hit him a few times, he moved the ball quickly, created time in the pocket with quality footwork, and Very willing to take the safest finish available. A game won’t be trending, but the Broncos rushers will have to get closer to the quarterback more often, and they can’t have any quarterback open with a 13-for-13 rhythm.
Biggest hole in the game plan: Some of this is definitely the Seahawks’ defensive game plan to focus things on where it helps, but the Broncos wide receiver Targeted only twice this season in the opening half when the Seahawks controlled the tempo of the game.
Wilson didn’t put the ball at risk, which is a good thing, but like head coach Nathaniel Hackett, the Broncos have always wanted to be aggressive on offense , but the Broncos are no aggressors, especially early in the game. When the Seahawks play at the rhythm they want, it becomes a struggle for the Broncos.
Denver’s wide receiver didn’t really get involved until late in the third quarter, heading into the fourth quarter.
Disturbing Trend Two: Double digit penalty over 100 yards? Critics will point to Hackett’s light-hearted way in the preseason, when nearly all of the starters didn’t play.
Penalties were on either side of the ball and the timing was ill-timed – especially with the Broncos starting inside the Seahawks’ 5-yard line with less than seven minutes left Disadvantage – and often a power buster. — Jeff Legwold
Underrated Stats: Per Elias Sports Bureau. The last example occurred in a game that used alternate players.
Next match: vs. Texans ( Sep 18 at 4:25pm EST)