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Home, Sweet Home

Posted Sep 19, 2010

The Broncos headed back to the friendly confines of INVESCO Field at Mile High to take on the Seattle Seahawks Sunday. The defense and special teams combined to force four turnovers and the offense capitalized en route to a 31-14 victory.


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 Champ Bailey's way, and the veteran cornerback made him pay with an interception at the 4-yard line.

"They did a good job driving down, and then Champ being Champ rose to the ocassion and made a play for us," Brian Dawkins said. "We were able to get off the field and get the ball back to our offense and they did an excellent job of going down and doing something with it. That was huge."

The offense couldn't get a drive going deep in its own territory, but special teams gave the group another shot. Britton Colquitt's 58-yard punt was muffed and immediately recovered by Cassius Vaughn, giving the offense the ball back at the Seattle 13-yard line. Three plays later, Kyle Orton connected with Eddie Royal for a 13-yard touchdown to give the Broncos an early lead.

After the defense forced a punt on the subsequent drive with a sack by D.J. Williams on third down, the offense had a chance to step on the gas. On third down at the Seattle 35-yard line, the play call was relayed in -- toss 238 gator throwback.

"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 Knowshon Moreno, who ran to his right before throwing the ball back to the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage. Orton launched the ball deep to Royal, who was taken down at the 1-yard line.

"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."

Correll Buckhalter finished off the 10-play, 81-yard drive by diving into the end zone from a yard out.

"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 Matt Prater field goal to lead 17-0 at halftime.

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 Brandon Lloyd, who caught three passes for 53 yards. "You have to match their energy. (Seahawks Head Coach Pete) Carroll has a lot of energy over there on that sideline, and it really transfers over to the players. The ability to neutralize that by being successful in the first half really helped us out later in the game."

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. Demaryius Thomas' first NFL touchdown closed out the scoring on Denver's next drive.

"Our offense did an incredible job with third-down after third-down conversion, that was huge," Justin Bannan said. "We had some huge turnovers today. Like coach said, it was complementary football. That's exactly what it was. We had a good day today."

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 Perrish Cox's first career interception to seal the victory.

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."

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