Early mistakes came back to haunt the Denver Broncos in Sunday’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Denver Broncos early mistakes costly

The Denver Broncos controlled the time of possession against the Las Vegas Raiders for most of Sunday’s game, but penalties and missed kicks impacted Denver negatively.

The Broncos committed ten penalties in Sunday’s loss, impacting them for 83 yards. Two penalties on the Raiders’ scoring drives proved costly as Vegas pulled ahead with nearly six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

“Look obviously [it was a] disappointing loss,” Broncos head coach Sean Payton said. “It [was a] hard-fought game that we kind of felt that [at] halftime this was going to come down to a possession. We didn’t make enough plays. There’ll be some things that—I just told our team that—there’ll be some things we like that we see on this film and then there’ll be some other things we have to correct. I thought the penalties were a tick high for us. That’s going to hurt us, but we defended the run well.”

Denver Broncos struggles in kicking game come back to hurt them

Overall, the Denver Broncos offense was improved from what fans witnessed last season, but still have work to do after only putting up 16 points in their season opener.

Denver’s offense saw six total drives on Sunday, scoring on three. The Broncos could have scored on four of their six possessions, but kicker Wil Lutz missed a 55-yard attempt. On Denver’s first scoring drive of the season, he missed the extra point attempt that made the score 7-6.

“It is tough right now,” Lutz said postgame. “It is going to be a hard 24 hours. But I know what I am capable of and why I am here. The hard part is obviously this team putting us in a position to win the game, and I was not able to do my part. Confidence is not the issue. Bottom line is, I have to figure out what happened today and move forward.”

In a 17-16 outcome, Lutz’s two misses were significant difference makers with how the game’s flow ended. He made his second attempt which ultimately gave Denver a lead in the game.

Russell Wilson looks improved from last season

Despite the Broncos loss, Russell Wilson and the offense looked better than they did all of last season. Scoring 16 points isn’t where Payton or Wilson want the unit to be, but considering the flow of the game, they are headed in the right direction.

The Broncos and Raiders offense were nearly identical from a statistical outlook. Denver ran 58 total offensive plays that accounted for 260 total yards, 5-of-11 efficiency on third down, and 32:08 time of possession.

While penalties impacted Denver and Vegas on both sides of the ball, the Broncos offense has signs of growth in their operation despite not having Jerry Jeudy in the lineup on Sunday.

Wilson was efficient as a passer going 27-of-34 passing for 177 yards and two touchdowns. Lil’Jordan Humphrey hauled one in and Courtland Sutton had the other one right before halftime.

“I think the biggest thing is just collective effort from the whole team,” Wilson said postgame. “We definitely—we’re very excited about who we are and who we’re going to be. The biggest thing is continuing to push. We’ve got another opportunity next week. We’ve got to come back ready to swing and go get a win.”

While Jeudy missed Sunday’s game, Denver lost tight end Greg Dulcich late in the second quarter with a leg injury and he did not return. He’ll undergo an MRI and the team will find out more from there.

There’s a possibility that Jeudy returns to the lineup next Sunday depending on how practice goes for him this week. He was moving well during an on-field workout pregame, but it seems like it was the smart move to hold him out.

Broncos defense contains Josh Jacobs, surrenders two scores to Jakobi Meyers

One of the biggest tasks for the Denver Broncos defense coming into Sunday’s game was to slow down Raiders running back Josh Jacobs.

For most of the game, the Broncos achieved that goal, holding him to 48 yards on 19 carries. Patrick Surtain also played a big part in limiting the big play production of Davante Adams, but Raiders receiver Jakobi Meyers was the difference maker.

Broncos cornerback Damarri Mathis had a rough season opener, allowing Meyers to haul in two touchdowns. The first score of the game came from a well-placed back-shoulder throw from Jimmy Garoppolo despite Mathis being in great position.

Meyers would finish the game with nine catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns.

While Mathis struggled, it’s entirely too early for Broncos fans to write him off or call for the team to bring somebody else in. He’s had a good camp and preseason leading up to Week 1, but Sunday’s struggles provide another opportunity for him to bounce back in Week 2.

Broncos Bits

  • Injury Report
    • TE Greg Dulcich (leg) left in the 2nd quarter and did not return.
    • Safety Caden Sterns (knee) left in the first quarter and did not return.
  • The Broncos gameday captains were Russell Wilson, Mike McGlinchey, and Riley Dixon.
  • Denver’s defense held the Raiders offense to 61 total rushing yards in Sunday’s loss.
  • The Broncos offense was 5-of-11 on 3rd down while the defense held the Raiders offense to 5-of-11 on 3rd down.
  • Broncos safety Justin Simmons shared what head coach Sean Payton’s message was to the team after the game.
    • “It’s Week 1,” Simmons said. “In the next four-week span, we have to find ways to improve drastically. It’s Week 1, like I said. No one is throwing in the towel. We’ll make the corrections tomorrow, and we’ll back on Wednesday ready to go and get ready for another home game against the Commanders.”

  • According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain held Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams to two receptions for 11 yards on five targets

    What’s next?
    The Broncos will host the Washington Commanders for Week 2 of the NFL season.