DENVER -- The tenth season of Broncos football at INVESCO Field at Mile High kicked off Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. At the end of the day, the result was the same as it has been in each of the other nine home openers -- a Broncos victory.
In a display of what has become part of the bedrock of Denver's gameplan -- complementary football -- the defense and special teams combined to force four turnovers and the offense capitalized on the extra opportunities. The 31-14 victory evened Denver's record to 1-1 on the season, and extended the club's streak to 11 consecutive wins in regular-season home openers, tied with Kansas City for the longest streak since 1970.
"Let me give credit to our players -- they had a great week of practice and I think the preparation that they put in, the practice, the days that we went out there and worked hard really paid off today," Head Coach Josh McDaniels said. "Real happy, thrilled for our team to get a good home win in our first home game and we look forward to trying to build on it next week."
The Broncos had seen the Seahawks score 31 consecutive points en route to a runaway victory against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1, so getting off to a fast start was imperative.
As Seattle pieced together a 14-play drive after receiving the opening kickoff, it looked like the Seahawks would be the team to jump ahead early.
But on the 14th play, Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck elected to look
"They did a good job driving down, and then Champ being Champ rose to the ocassion and made a play for us,"
The offense couldn't get a drive going deep in its own territory, but special teams gave the group another shot.
After the defense forced a punt on the subsequent drive with a sack by
"I think you have some urgency at that point to really try to finish that drive and make it either a 10-0 or 14-0 game," McDaniels said. "To be able to run that play in that situation, it was kind of perfect."
Orton took the snap and pitched the ball to
"Awesome call," Orton said. "Those are fun plays. It gets the crowd going, it gets us going. I had a big smile on my face just calling it in the huddle. Knowshon gave me a good throw and Eddie made a nice catch and almost got in."
"That's the best way to play -- let the other team make a mistake, we capitalize on it, and before you know it, it's 14 to nothing," said Orton, who finished the game 25-of-35 for 307 yards and two touchdowns, good for a quarterback rating of 117.2.
The complementary football continued on Seattle's next possession. The Seahawks strung together a nine-play drive, but once again the defense stepped up to the challenge. On a first down at the Denver 28-yard line, Dawkins recognized a route run by Seattle tight end John Carlson. The veteran safety let the tight end gain a little space, hoping to bait a throw by Hasselbeck. The quarterback obliged, and Dawkins leaped to make the interception.
"I didn't think he could get there, but he got there," Hasselbeck said of the pick.
The offense converted the turnover into a
The fast start was exactly what the Broncos worked toward all week.
"Seattle's a pretty explosive team, especially in the beginning of the game," said
The Seahawks scored on their first drive of the second half, pulling to within two scores. But the Broncos had an answer, converting three third downs on a 10-play drive that was capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Moreno.
"Our offense did an incredible job with third-down after third-down conversion, that was huge,"
To Bannan's point, the Broncos were 14-of-20 on third downs on the day -- one of which was a quarterback kneel by Orton after
With the reigning AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts heading to town next Sunday, the Broncos hope to keep Sunday's momentum rolling into Week 3.
"That's a different taste you have in your mouth -- a different mindset when you win ballgames," Dawkins said. "You try to do the right things. Whatever we did (this) week, see if we can do those same things again to get that same result this coming week. Obviously it's going to be a tough challenge, but we understand that. Let's get guys back on the field and see what we can do."