Broncos edge Seahawks in Super rematch
DENVER — As might have been expected of two teams last seen playing in the Super Bowl, there were more than a few sparks.
As it turned out, there was also some actual thunder and lightning, forcing a 45-minute delay in the first quarter as Denver and Seattle met at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Thursday night.
Ultimately, though, it played out as first preseason games usually do, with lots of sloppy and uneven play.
And it ended in an unfamiliar feeling for Seattle as the Broncos held on to win 21-16, snapping the Seahawks’ nine-game preseason winning streak.
Fitting the nature of the night, Denver clinched the game on an interception on a tripped Terrelle Pryor pass in the end zone.
The game began with a little more heightened emotion than usual for a preseason opener, with several Broncos having spoken freely during the week of wanting to get at least some slight atonement for Seattle’s 43-8 Super Bowl win.
The Denver Post sports section Thursday led with a large headline that read “It’s a matter of pride.“
Tensions appeared to run high during the first quarter, though, when the starters were on the field. There were eight penalties in the quarter, with Seattle getting called for one taunting call, and also an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The latter came after Denver’s touchdown when Seahawk Michael Bennett and Demaryius Thomas grappled on the ground in the end zone. Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright rushed in to defend Bennett and drew a flag.
Not much separated the two teams when the main units were on the field.
Each team played its starting quarterback and primary offensive and defensive starters for two quarters. And each team responded with one long touchdown drive and a punt on those series, to leave the game tied at 7 before the reserves took over for good.
Denver drove 61 yards on 10 plays the second time it had the ball, with Peyton Manning hitting nine of 11 passes for 63 yards.
Five of the completions came against Seattle cornerback Byron Maxwell, whom Manning targeted often, staying away from Richard Sherman’s side of the field. Maxwell was usually matched up against Demaryius Thomas, who had five catches for 52 yards in the first quarter.
Maxwell is in his first full year as a starter at cornerback after Seattle lost Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond in the offseason to free agency.
The game was then suspended at 6:42 and with 1:30 left in the first quarter when lightning struck within eight miles of the stadium.
The players were ordered off the field as Seattle was set to begin a drive from its own 10-yard-line with Denver ahead 7-0.
Play resumed 45 minutes later, and the Seahawks then embarked on a somewhat-bizarre 14-play drive in which Seattle got four first downs thanks to Denver penalties.
It ended with a 1-yard run by Christine Michael that tied the game at 7.
That capped the night for Seattle QB Russell Wilson, who was 4-6 for 37 yards, leading a 90-yard scoring drive that was aided by four Denver defensive penalties that resulted in Seahawks first downs.
Wilson, though, was forced to work behind a makeshift offensive line that featured just one player who at the moment would be projected as a sure thing to start this season-guard J.R. Sweezy.
Seattle took a 10-7 lead at halftime on a 41-yard Steven Hauschka field goal that capped a drive led by backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. The key play on the drive was a 20-yard pass from Jackson to backup tight end Cooper Helfet to pick up a third-and-20.