PLAYER OF THE GAME
Kyle Orton. On a day when Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck threw three interceptions – including two that were picked off inside the Broncos’ 10-yard line – his Denver counterpart was spot on for most of the game. Orton completed 25 of 35 passes for 307 yards, with two touchdown passes and no interceptions.
Those numbers created a 117.2 passer rating, but didn’t tell the entire story about just how efficient Orton was. He went to rookie wide receiver Demaryrius Thomas (eight for 97) and wide receiver Eddie Royal (five for 65) for big plays, and scoring plays. He went to running back Knowshon Moreno (four for 67) and wide receiver Brandon Lloyd (three for 53) for drive-sustaining plays.
The Broncos needed each and every one of Orton’s plays because their running game contributed only 65 yards on 38 carries – or a 1.7-yard average.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: The Broncos didn’t score on the play, but their flee-flicker on third-and-5 early in the second quarter setup a score. Orton gave the ball to Moreno, who threw back to Orton, who then passed to Royal. The Broncos’ wide receiver would have scored, if Seahawks strong safety Lawyer Milloy hadn’t tripped him up just short of the goal line. Still, it was a 34-yard play that led to the Broncos’ second touchdown.
Defense: The Seahawks came out rolling, moving from their own 20 to the Broncos’ 1 on the first series of the game. After penalties against right guard Stacy Andrews (false start) and right tackle Sean Locklear (holding) turned a first-and-goal from the 1 into a first-and-goal from the 16, the drive ended when Pro Bowl Champ Bailey intercepted Hasselbeck’s third-down pass that was intended for Deion Branch.
Special teams: After being inactive last week, rookie Golden Tate was hyperactive on Sunday. His biggest play was a 63-yard punt return early in the third quarter. Tate’s grab-and-go return set up the Seahawks’ first touchdown.
Pre-game: The heat was on. Literally. The temperature at kickoff was 91 degrees, making this the hottest home game in Broncos’ history. But it ranked only No. 5 in terms of the Seahawks’ hottest road games.
In-game: It was a reoccurring nightmare for the Seahawks, as the Broncos converted 14 of 20 third-down situations. That after holding the 49ers to one of 15 on third downs in their opener.
Post-game: The crowd surrounding Tate in what was a very quiet Seahawks’ locker room. To his credit, the team’s second-round draft choice dismissed his personnel accomplishments because they came in a disappointing loss.
In his 200th regular-season start, Milloy led the Seahawks with eight tackles (seven solo) and forced a fumble.
After not scoring a rushing touchdown since 2005, Hasselbeck now has one in each of the first two games this season.
The Seahawks converted seven of 11 third-down situations.
The Seahawks ran for 109 yards on 20 carries, a 5.5-yard average – including Hasselbeck’s 20-yarder for their second TD.
Punter Jon Ryan averaged 53.5 yards on two punts, with a net of 52.5, in the thin Denver air.
Six of the eight kickoffs in the game went for touchbacks, as the kickers also took advantage of the altitude.
The Broncos have won 11 consecutive home openers, and are 21-5 all-time against the Seahawks in Denver.
The Seahawks went with an all ex-Bronco left side on their offensive line, as Tyler Polumbus was at tackle and Ben Hamilton at guard.
Linebacker Leroy Hill strained a calf muscle early in the game, after injuring a heel late in the week. It was understandable, as coach Pete Carroll pointed out, because Hill missed time during training camp and the preseason with a sprained knee and then was serving a one-game suspension last week.
YOU DON’T SAY
“We made it really hard on ourselves today.” – Carroll, after the Seahawks turned the ball over four times and couldn’t get off the field on defense because the Broncos’ converted 70 percent of their third-down situations