How Denver Broncos' Preseason Week 2 Loss Affects Regular Season Outlook

Travis Wakeman@@traviswakeman10Featured Columnist IVAugust 19, 2013

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 17:  Running back Ronnie Hillman #21 of the Denver Broncos fumbles at the goal line against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on August 17, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. The ball was returned for a touchdown by cornerback Brandon Browner. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Yes, it's only a preseason game. However, there has to be some cause for concern following the Denver Broncos' most recent preseason game—a 40-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

The Seahawks didn't just win the game, they dominated every aspect of it. The Broncos didn't look anything like a team expected to challenge for the AFC crown.

Seattle was the more physical team and the Broncos were just pushed around for 60 minutes. Luckily, the defeat doesn't mean anything in the standings.

Still, there were plenty of areas in which the Broncos could face lingering problems—problems that could carry into the regular season.



The Broncos left Seattle bruised and battered and that wasn't only the result of a lopsided 30-point defeat.

Derek Wolfe was hurt on a play in the first quarter and laid on the turf for an extended period of time before leaving in an ambulance. It was a scene that likely looked worse than it actually was, but the Broncos can't afford to lose any pass-rushers.

In addition to that, wide receiver Wes Welker, guard Louis Vasquez and cornerback Champ Bailey were forced to exit the game due to injuries. In the case of Bailey, his sprained foot shouldn't keep him out long, but could it slow him down?

The Broncos can't afford a setback to Bailey, who didn't perform well in the last meaningful game he played—the divisional playoff loss to Baltimore.


Running Game

The Denver running game was virtually non-existent against Seattle. On 28 carries, the team averaged just 2.7 yards per carry. On top of that, the man that has been pegged as the No. 1 running back on the depth chart, Ronnie Hillman, was shaky at best.

Hillman fumbled the ball twice. Though Denver was able to fall on one of those, his other fumble proved costly. On 2nd-and-goal from the Seattle 1-yard line, Hillman had the ball jarred loose as he plunged into the end zone. Seattle defensive back Brandon Browner picked it up and raced 106 yards the other way for a touchdown.

Later, rookie running back Montee Ball whiffed on a block in pass protection and Peyton Manning took a hard shot and was driven into the ground. Strong pass protection out of the running back position is a must in the Denver offense.

The running game will have to a lot better than they were on Saturday when the games start to count.



Last season, Denver's second-ranked defense was as big a reason as any that they went 13-3 and secured home field advantage in the playoffs.

Against the Seahawks, they were picked apart. Russell Wilson threw two touchdowns and had a 141.3 quarterback rating in just one half of work. The Seahawks also amassed 129 yards on the ground.

But it wasn't just that. Defenders were consistently out of position and the tackling was atrocious. By and large, the Broncos didn't look ready to play the game.

They also gave up a 107-yard kick return for a touchdown and a 33-yard punt return as the poor play moved onto the special teams.

Seattle looked like a team ready for the regular season to start, Denver didn't. Is there reason for concern with the Broncos or can this all be chalked up to a meaningless preseason game?