The Broncos were on the road again to play a preseason game on Thursday night and they lost to the Seahawks by a score of 22-14. It was a tale of two halves for Denver, as there were plenty of positive things in the first half, followed by mostly negative occurrences after intermission.
As I watched the game, I was taken through a gamut of emotions. I know, I know – it’s just the preseason. But there were plenty of things to get excited about followed by plays that made me shake my head in disgust.
Here are some of my observations from Thursday night’s loss.
Good to See Lindsay Back
Plenty of starters played for the first time this preseason on Thursday night. One that we got to see for the first time was running back Phillip Lindsay.
A wrist injury ended his rookie season and he worked diligently to get back onto the field. Lindsay had to feel some frustration through OTAs and minicamp, but he’s been practicing in training camp. Lindsay returned to the field against the Seahawks and looked like the same explosive player we all know and love.
Lindsay did not have any sort of ball-security issues, and looked good as a runner and receiver out of the backfield. As the preseason rolls on, we should see a bit more of Lindsay over the next two games. It’s a positive sign of things to come when the regular season starts.
Flacco Missed Sutton For Six
I’ve said it a lot out at training camp: Joe Flacco’s favorite target is the open guy. Flacco doesn’t prefer to go to one receiver over another. He simply makes the read, usually quickly, and will take what the defense is giving him.
He’s not averse to taking chances, but he’ll pick and choose his spots to do it.
Flacco distributed the ball evenly to begin the game against the Seahawks. The Broncos leaned mostly on the ground game when the starters were in, getting big plays from guys like Lindsay and Royce Freeman. The rushing attack was able to move the team into scoring position and I was hoping that Flacco would just throw one up “above the rim” where only Courtland Sutton could get it in the end zone.
The play was set up perfectly, and Sutton got one-on-one coverage which he can beat on jump balls. Flacco identified that Sutton was the perfect target, but he launched the ball too high and too far for the big receiver to go get it.
As a result, the offense had to settle for a field goal. It would’ve been great to see the two connect on a scoring play. We’ve seen it plenty at training camp, but Flacco was a bit more amped up in the game and the pass was off. I’m sure he’d want that one back.
Not So Special Teams
The Broncos need help on special teams. They had a poor night against the Seahawks when it came to that area. It started with a near muffed return by running back Devontae Booker and just continued throughout most of the contest.
I asked my Twitter followers to give me a .gif that describes the Broncos special teams performance, and this one had to be my favorite response.
— Ron Jelway (@CL5280) August 9, 2019
I know – it’s preseason and doesn’t matter, but this is a problem that has been resonating with the Broncos during the last couple of seasons (at least). We’ve also seen the team struggle with special teams play in training camp this year. They’ll need to clean this up and quick as they will play close games in 2019 and can’t afford to lose a game due to a poor return, poor kick or poor tackling.
Could Have Been Worse
I liked some of what we saw from Drew Lock on Thursday, but he was bailed out by a couple of dropped interceptions. Lock showed like he made improvements from the Hall of Fame Game and it was exciting to watch – at least in the first half for the Broncos. In the second half, the offense (and defense) couldn’t do much of anything.
Broncos head coach Vic Fangio liked the way things started out for Lock but also acknowledged how things fell apart.
“He threw it pretty damn good. He seemed to be a little more in control of the operation. Then as the game got out of hand, we were poor on defense in the second half. We had a couple of three-and-outs there and it goes from 6-3 and then they had the safety. So it got out of hand quick there, the three phases didn’t play good enough and then it turns into an obvious pass situation.” Fangio said.
I do like the resiliency that Lock showed at the end of this game. The chips were way down, on the other side of the field, former Broncos first-round pick Paxton Lynch awas moving the ball up and down the field against the Denver defense. Lock did not get down, even after he was sacked for a safety, even when he made bad throws and even when it looked like the game was completely out of control.
It wasn’t a great night for Lock, and it could have been much worse, but his will power and mental toughness was impressive when other players would have just given up.
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