Highlights: Seahawks at Denver Broncos

Posted Aug 7, 2014

Quarter notes and game highlights from the Seahawks' 21-16 preseason-opening loss to the Broncos in Denver.

First Quarter

What happened: Broncos 7, Seahawks 0. The Seahawks won the coin toss, but elected to defer. The defense then held the Broncos to 17 yards on five plays to force a punt. But the Seahawks generated no net yards and had to punt. On a third-down play where free safety Rahim Moore appeared to come up with an interception of a pass that went off the hands of tight end Zach Miller, the replay showed the ball had hit the ground. The Broncos got the ball back and drove 61 yards in 12 plays to a 1-yard touchdown run by Ronnie Hillman. Peyton Manning went to Demaryius Thomas three times on third downs and each produced a first down – a 9-yarder on third-and-4, a 7-yarder on third-and-7 and a 9-yarder on third-and-7. The game was then suspended for 46 minutes because of lightning strikes within the eight-mile limit around Sports Authority Field. Once play resumed, the Seahawks moved to their own 40 on passes of 11 and 18 yards from Russell Wilson to Jermaine Kearse and Doug Baldwin when the quarter ended.

Player of the quarter: Thomas. The 6-foot-3, 229-pound receiver was there when Manning and the Broncos needed him on the TD drive that consumed more than nine minutes and also included seven penalties and another play where there were offsetting penalties. Thomas also had a 15-yard reception on the Broncos’ first possession and another catch on the TD drive for 12 yards.

Play of the quarter: Manning’s first third-down pass to Thomas on the TD trudge – a 9-yarder on third-and-4. First, Manning had forever to find Thomas. Then, cornerback Byron Maxwell could not stay with Thomas. If the Seahawks make that play, they’re off the field. Instead, they couldn’t deliver two elements – the pass rush and the pass coverage – that they came up with again and again in their 43-8 romp over the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.

Number of the quarter: Eight. Those are combined penalties, four for each team, for 65 yards. Yes, this was the first quarter of their first preseason game.

Second Quarter

What happened: Seahawks 10, Broncos 7. The Seahawks tied the score on a 1-yard run by Christine Michael with 7:12 left in the game. The penalty-propelled drive covered 90 yards in 14 plays and included a holding call against the Broncos on third-and-8, a facemask penalty on fourth-and-1 and a pass interference penalty in the end zone on second-and-goal from the 12 – all producing first downs. Russell Wilson was 4 of 4 for 37 yards and scrambled once for 7 yards on the drive that started in the first quarter. The Broncos drove to the Seahawks’ 36 on the ensuring series, but Matt Prater missed a 54-yard field goal attempt. That allowed the Seahawks to take possession at their 44 and drive 33 yards in nine plays to a 41-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka with 7 seconds left in the half.

Player of the quarter: Wilson. Despite the 46-minute delay because of lightning strikes in the first quarter and then the quarter break, the Seahawks’ third-year QB came out and made the plays to help get the Seahawks on the scoreboard.

Play of the quarter: The facemask penalty against the Broncos’ T.J. Ward on the fourth-and-1 play. Wilson had dropped the ball, and it appeared the Seahawks would surrender the ball on downs. But Ward grabbed Wilson’s facemask to keep the drive alive.

Number of the quarter: Three. The number of possessions by each team in the lightning-delayed first half, and also Wilson’s uniform number.

Third Quarter

What happened: Broncos 14, Seahawks 13. The Seahawks got the ball to open the second half, but the possession lasted only three plays and produced minus-7 yards as Tarvaris Jackson was sacked on third down. The Broncos then got a 20-yard punt return, setting up a five-play, 57-yard touchdown drive that ended with Kapri Bibbs’ 3-yard scoring run. Back-to-back holding calls and a delay-of-game penalty put the Broncos in a first-and-35 situation, but a pass interference penalty against Jeremy Lane bailed them out.  Terrelle Pryor then took over at QB for the Seahawks and was 4 of 7 for 45 yards in directing a 12-play, 58-yard drive to a 40-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka that made it 14-13 with 4:50 left in the quarter. The key play was Pryor's nicely thrown pass to Bryan Walters for a 26-yard gain on third-and-9.

Player of the quarter: A.J. Jefferson. On the Broncos’ possession following Hauschka’s field goal, the fifth-year cornerback for the Seahawks made a couple of big plays. On the first, he was beaten by Cody Latimer, but recovered to break up the pass. On the second, Jefferson tipped away a pass that was intended for Bennie Fowler. Then, Jefferson made an interception on the final play of the quarter.

Play of the quarter: Bibbs’ TD run, for two reasons. It gave the Broncos the lead, again, and cornerback Tharold Simon was ejected after committing a personal foul in the end zone. This was Simon’s chance to display his talents after spending his rookie season on IR. But it turned out to be an early evening for him.

Number of the quarter: 24. The Broncos’ 24-yard line, that is. That’s where the Seahawks got the ball to open the fourth quarter after Jefferson’s pick.

Fourth Quarter

What happened: Broncos 21, Seahawks 16. Taking advantage of A.J. Jefferson’s interception and 11-yard return to the Broncos’ 24-yard line to end the third quarter, Terrelle Pryor led a six-play, 20-yard drive to a 22-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka that gave the Seahawks a 16-14 lead with 11:22 left in the quarter. The big play was Pryor’s 16-yard pass to tight end Morrell Presley. But the Broncos came right back to take a 21-16 lead on Brock Osweiler’s 34-yard TD pass to Jordan Norwood with 7:22 left. Osweiler also ran 15 yards on the play prior to the scoring pass, as he eluded a potential sack by Seahawks’ rookie end Cassius Marsh. Pryor then led the Seahawks to the Denver 4-yard line, but his third-down pass was intercepted by Broncos’ linebacker Steven Johnson to end Seattle’s comeback bid.

Player of the quarter: Osweiler. After almost giving the game away with his end-of-the-third-quarter pass that A.J. Jefferson intercepted, Peyton Manning’s backup passed and ran the Broncos back into the lead.

Play of the quarter: Johnson’s interception. The Seahawks were poised to take the lead, but lost the chance when Pryor’s pass went off Ricardo Lockette in the end zone and Johnson picked off the carom.

Number of the quarter: Nine. The loss snapped the Seahawks’ franchise-best nine-game winning streak in the preseason.