DENVER --The Broncos' preseason home opener ended with a 30-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Although the end result doesn't count in the standings and won't have any lasting effect on the 2012 season, the outcome isn't one the players can simply shrug off.
"You never want to lose," tight end Joel Dreessen said. "Whether it's preseason or not, you want to find a way to win. What we put out on the field in front of our home crowd wasn't good enough. We all know that, and that's why we have the feeling we have right now."
Still, there are positives to be drawn from the loss. The first unit took a 10-9 lead into the half. With three turnovers on offense, wide receiver Eric Decker called it a testament to the defense.
Additionally, the loss means the team now has plenty to improve on in the next week of practice, before it hosts the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday.
"That's the beauty of preseason," Decker said. "It's just a good time to work out those kinks. I think with how the game ended today, we found out a lot of stuff that we do need to work on, some weaknesses. There are some strengths there too. You have to build off those. I think overall, unfortunately we don't like the outcome of the score. But you can always take from this experience and learn from it."
DEFENSE SET ON IMPROVING AGAINST RUN
Linebacker Joe Mays tied for the team lead with four tackles, including a bruising stop in the backfield on running back Robert Turbin for a loss of one. But the biggest problem Mays had with the team's performance on Saturday night was the way they played against the run.
"I feel like we could have played a lot better than we did, even in the first half," Mays said. "We gave up way too many rushing yards. They had a couple big plays on us. We just have to come out and start a little bit better than how we did. You know what? Every single person needs to improve."
The Broncos managed to take a one-point lead into the half despite three turnovers, which shows the defense did enough to keep the Seattle at bay offensively. Still, 4.5 yards per carry on 17 first-half attempts isn't what Denver's defense can deem a success. If the first-teamers had the opportunity to start the second half on the field, adjustments would have been made.
"It's just learning how to fit up their runs a little bit different than we did," Mays said. "We gave up 76 yards in the first half, which is way too much. We definitely would have come in and adjusted to the way we need to fit against the run to try to stop the big play."
BRUTON BLOCKS, BRITTON BOOTS
A pair of special-teamers stood out in Saturday night's game.
David Bruton blocked the Seahawks' first punt of the game, allowing the Broncos to take over at Seattle's 24-yard line.
"I actually went up and under, stuck him and got him underneath and just put the long arm out there," Bruton said. "It felt great. Just to put on the film that I'm a threat. Putting in the film study to know the opponent and his weakness and exploit it to my advantage."
Bruton wasn't finished. He also got his hand on Seattle's next punt, which came in the second quarter, and led the team with two special-team stops.
"The second one… I just bull rushed him and got to the punt," Bruton said. "Stuck the arm out for that one too."
Punter Britton Colquitt was another Bronco who shined in the loss. His gross average was 52.7 yards per punt, and his net average of 45.7 yards was just as impressive. Those numbers are both higher than his 2011 averages, which set franchise records.
In the fourth quarter, with his heels near the back of the end zone on a punt from Denver's 6-yard line, Colquitt booted the ball 69 yards down the field. With a 10-yard holding penalty tacked on to the play, Seattle took its next snap all the way back at its own 15-yard line – a 79-yard field-position swing.
The punt was the longest of Colquitt's career at any level – pro, college or high school.