SEATTLE — The contrast was stark.
In the first half, the Broncos' defense allowed the Seahawks to score on three of their first four drives, rack up 219 yards and build a 17-13 halftime lead.
After the break, Denver allowed just 44 yards, pitched a shutout and forced two fumbles.
"They did a good job," Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett said of the adjustment. "Again, I think that first half, a lot of those drives were extended because of penalties. They took some of those penalties out, they made some good adjustments and they did really well."
The Broncos' pass-rush was effective, as Bradley Chubb recorded a strip-sack to begin the fourth quarter and then another sack to force the Seahawks off the field and set up the final drive. Randy Gregory, meanwhile, ripped the ball away from DK Metcalf to set the Broncos up in Seattle territory.
"I think we got in our groove, man," Chubb said of the second half. "We kind of got the jitters out. Like [we were] trying to do too much. We just played within the defense and did everything we did. I feel like it just started working out for us. I feel like in the first half our communication might've been lacking, and it was kind of all over the place, you know what I mean?"
Chubb said the Broncos turned it around after Defensive Coordinator Ejiro Evero spoke to the team at halftime, but he expects more from the defense as the team moves ahead.
"It was good to see," Chubb said of his own performance. "Good to have success in the pass game. But at the end of the day, I want to do it for all four quarters. I feel like I just did it for two. I want to get back to being the full, dominant, the entire game type guy. So just got to get back from that."
THE FINAL MOMENTS
On the Broncos' final drive, an incompletion set up a third-and-14 with 1:11 to play from the Denver 45-yard line. Russell Wilson found Javonte Williams, who weaved his way for nine yards to set up a fourth-and-5 at the Seattle 46-yard line.
After the gain, Wilson and the Broncos huddled and then approached the line. As the play clock wound down, Wilson signaled for timeout and the Broncos sent Brandon McManus on for a 64-yard field-goal attempt with 20 seconds to play.
Hackett said the Broncos may have gone for it on fourth down if Williams didn't pick up as many yards, but they were able to reach the line that McManus identified as within his range before the drive.
"We were right on the line, and he had plenty of distance," Hackett said. "He just missed it. Again, Brandon gave it his best shot. That's a long field goal to hit. I think he's completely capable of that but obviously I wish we would've gotten a lot closer, but it put us in that weird spot because we were into field-goal range but we were in that fourth-down situation. Didn't think we were going to get that many yards, so I thought it was great job by Javonte. We made our decision, we wanted to take our shot there on that one."
Hackett said he believed because the Broncos weren't moving the ball in "big chunks" on the final drive, the Broncos were best served to attempt the field goal. Wilson stood alongside his coach when asked about the decision to not attempt to pick up the yardage on offense.
"We got the best field-goal kicker maybe in the game," Wilson said. "… We said, 'Where can you make it from tonight?' And he said, '46[-yard line], left hash.' I think we were on the 46, left hash. That was before the drive. We got it there. Unfortunately, it didn't go in. I think he's got the leg for it, for sure. Just went a little left, I believe. I believe in Coach Hackett. I believe in what we're doing. I believe in everything. Any time you can try to find a way to make a play on fourth-and-5, that's great too, but also I don't think it was the wrong decision. I think he can make it. Obviously in hindsight, we didn't make it. If we get in that situation again, I wouldn't doubt whatever we decide."
Following the loss, McManus shouldered the responsibility for the attempt, which couldn't sneak inside the uprights.
"They had the faith in me, I've just got to make that kick," he said.
JEUDY STANDS OUT
Lost in the result was the impressive play of third-year wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.
The Alabama product recorded four catches to post the third 100-yard game of his career — and the first since the final game of 2020.
"I thought Jerry Jeudy looked amazing tonight," Wilson said. "Excited for him."
Jeudy's stat line was built around a 67-yard touchdown reception where he worked his way back to the ball, avoided the defender and raced down the left sideline for a score.
Despite the performance, Jeudy downplayed his stat line that was coupled with a loss.
"It would feel much better if we had the [win]," Jeudy said, "but at the end of the day, the game is over and it's time to focus on next week."