On a bright and clear Sunday in Denver, the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks took to the field for Week 1 in the NFL season and Denver’s defense shined in the first half.
Looking to avoid back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since the early 1970’s. The Broncos come out in 2018 with a new quarterback who was closely under the microscope on Sunday in the first half, but also with a relentless pass rush that collected four sacks in the first half.
Case Keenum and the Broncos offense took the field first and after some work from Colorado product and undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay, Keenum hooked up on a sideline 14-yard reception to Emmanuel Sanders.
But after a missed third down, Denver punted the football and played defense, where rookie Bradley Chubb got in on his first action of the game.
After a three and out, Denver’s offense took the field and ran into trouble. Keenum delivered a strike across the field to Demaryius Thomas running up the seam, but a miscommunication led to Earl Thomas jumping in front of the football for an interception.
Quickly following the interception Keenum put the turnover in the rear-view mirror and went straight down the field. Catches from Sanders and Thomas would set up a 29-yard touchdown from Phillip Lindsay in his first career game as a professional. The touchdown tied the game at seven and got the energy back into Mile High Stadium.
Another rookie on the touchdown did some extra work as DaeSean Hamilton threw the block that sprung Lindsay for six.
Denver’s offense generated eight first downs and 154 total yards in the first quarter. But just before the first quarter whistle, Denver’s defense once again had trouble with tight ends.
The Broncos defense held Seattle to a field goal on the drive to make it 10-7 with 12 minutes left in the second quarter.
The Broncos trotted back out on offense and fans once again got to see an offense that looks completely different from last year.
After runs from Lindsay that broke for a first down and Jake Butt‘s first career catch. Keenum dropped back and found Sanders for a 33-yard touchdown. The offensive line gave Keenum all day and after making the catch, Sanders flipped into the end zone for six.
After Denver jumped out to the 14-10 lead, they would tack on a field goal as Brandon McManus nailed a 51-yard field goal to make it 17-10.
Then Von Miller happened.
Miller came out dancing after sacking Russell Wilson — not once, but twice — ending the drive that resulted in a missed Sebastian Janikowski 46-yard field goal attempt.
The Broncos got the ball back on offense looking to push the lead one more time before halftime, however Keenum threw his second interception of the day.
The Broncos defense shined in the first half, sacking the quarterback four times and holding Seattle to 0-5 on third down, taking a 17-10 lead into halftime.