Peephole perspective: The Seahawks got on the board, thanks to a 63-yard punt return by rookie Golden Tate. But the Broncos answered with an 80-yard TD drive. Denver, 24-7.
Player of the quarter: Tate. After being inactive last week, the Seahawks’ second-round draft choice made up for lost time. In addition to the 63-yard punt return, he also had a 52-yard reception.
Play of the quarter: What was that? Facing a fourth-and-2 from the Broncos’ 20, Matt Hasselbeck threw into the end zone to WR Deion Butler. It was one of those plays that would have been brilliant if the pass had been completed. But it wasn’t.
Stat of the quarter: 11 of 14 for 79 percent. That was the Broncos’ third-down conversion rate through the first three quarters.
The bigger picture: The Seahawks forced a Broncos’ punt to open the half, and Tate made the most of it – and then some. He returned Britton Colquitt’s 63-yard punt for 63 yards to the Broncos’ 22. And, the Seahawks used the field position to score five plays later – on Hasselbeck’s 11-yard pass to WR Ben Obomanu. Hasselbeck kept the short drive alive with a 9-yard pass to Branch on third-and-8.
But the Broncos came right back to score on an 80-yard drive, as Knowshon Moreno got into the end zone with a leap over the left side of the line on third-and-goal. The drive was sustained on the first third down when CB Marcus Trufant was called for a questionable pass interference penalty against WR Brandon Lloyd. The 14-yard penalty moved the ball to the Broncos 37. Two plays later, Moreno took a screen pass and went for 45 yards to the Seahawks’ 16. On third-and-5 from the 11, Orton pass to TE Daniel Graham for 10 yards. The 10-play scoring drive made it 24-7 with 3:31 remaining. The Broncos needed Moreno’s third-down leap because DT Brandon Mebane stopped him for no gain on first down and LB David Hawthorne had the first hit as the Seahawks also stopped him for no gain on second down.
The Seahawks got a 52-yard gain on their next play, as Tate a pass from Hasselbeck and carried it to the Broncos’ 28. But the drive stalled, and then ended as Hasselbeck’s pass to Branch in the end zone on fourth down was incomplete.