Broncos Rise Up and Seahawks Fall Short : AFC: Elway helps Denver to 16-point lead, but Seattle makes it close at finish, 16-10.
After staking Denver to a 16-point lead, John Elway’s offensive unit settled back and watched the final quarter.
What they saw nearly had a surprise ending when Jeff Kemp’s pass sailed out of the end zone with 43 seconds left and the Broncos held on for a 16-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks Sunday.
“I can’t give our defense enough credit,” Denver Coach Dan Reeves said. “We let them hang around too long, and in the final quarter they gambled and it paid off--for a while.
“We have to do a better job of putting it in the end zone and not settle for three points.”
Elway acknowledged that the Broncos (2-1) aided Seattle’s rally by failing to get a first down in the fourth quarter.
Denver didn’t have any plays in its game plan designed to counter the Seahawks’ all-out defensive rush in the final quarter.
“We got ahead and they started bringing everybody on every play,” Elway said. “I thought I saw (Seattle Coach) Chuck Knox (in there) one time. We hadn’t seen that on film, and we weren’t prepared for it.
“I felt terrible walking in and then I thought, ‘Hey, we won, I should be happy.’ We did a good job for three quarters. We ran the ball pretty well and we kept them off balance. We played better than we played last week, that’s for sure.”
The Broncos finally rose up and held the Seahawks (1-2) on four incomplete passes in a row after Seattle reached the Denver 14.
Knox said Seattle was unable to overcome its mistakes, including four turnovers.
“Our defense kept us in the game,” he said. “We had some shots at the end, but we couldn’t get it done. We made mistakes offensively. Penalties and turnovers hurt us.”
Elway hooked up with Ricky Nattiel on a 61-yard touchdown pass play with 1:58 left in the first half to give Denver a 10-0 lead. David Treadwell kicked three field goals for Denver’s other points.
Seattle’s comeback was triggered by Trey Junkin’s partial block of Mike Horan’s punt, giving the Seahawks possession at the Denver 34-yard line with 9:18 left. Seattle averted a shutout when John Kasay kicked a 28-yard field goal with 7:30 remaining.
Denver ran three plays and was forced to punt. Seattle needed just four plays to go 67 yards for a touchdown. Kemp threw a short pass to Brian Blades, who turned into a 47-yard gain with a nice cutback. Three plays later, Derrick Fenner dived the final yard for the touchdown with 4:04 left.
Denver went three downs and out again, and Seattle promptly drove to the Bronco 14, where the defense held. Two of the incomplete passes at the end were tipped away from open receivers by safety Dennis Smith and cornerback Le-Lo Lang.
In a sloppily played first quarter, the Seahawks blew two scoring opportunities--first when Kemp, holding Kasay’s 43-yard field goal attempt, couldn’t handle the snap, and then when fullback John L. Williams fumbled at the Denver 25.
After Williams’ miscue, the Broncos marched 74 yards to a 17-yard field goal by Treadwell to take a 3-0 lead. Elway completed passes of 20 and 16 yards to Steve Sewell and a 16-yarder to Michael Young on the drive.
Smith’s 39-yard interception return to the Seattle 11 set up Treadwell’s 25-yard field goal for a 13-0 lead early in the third quarter.
Treadwell’s final three-pointer, a 35-yarder, came less than a minute into the final quarter after a 17-yard run by Gaston Green.