The Denver Broncos’ 27-24 win in the season opener on Sunday made for a happy locker room, but there were enough mistakes to show the victory wasn’t perfect.
Among those mistakes were three interceptions by quarterback Case Keenum, allowing Seattle’s rookie tight end Will Dissly to run through the defense for 101 yards on three catches and a touchdown, and then having a defensive breakdown on wide receiver Tyler Lockett’s 51-yard touchdown reception.
The Broncos survived because they had three takeaways and Keenum stayed poised and threw three touchdown passes, but the mistakes are something head coach Vance Joseph wants to fix immediately.
“It’s good to win but we do have standards, and our standards can’t be measured by who we play. It’s got to be by how we play,” he said. “We’ve got higher standards than that, especially defensively, not giving up four explosive plays. We can’t play that way and expect to win every game by giving the ball away three times and giving up five explosive plays.”
Dissly’s big day came on defensive breakdowns, particularly the three missed tackles on a 66-yard reception on the last play of the first quarter that set up a field goal that gave Seattle a 10-7 lead. Lockett found a seam in the secondary early in the fourth quarter for a touchdown that gave the Seahawks a 24-20 lead.
“With a mobile quarterback, you’ve got to be good with your eyes,” Denver cornerback Will Parks said. “Sometimes you can get caught trying to read your keys and the next thing you know, you have a man and he rolls out to the other side.”
Keenum’s first interception led to Seattle’s first touchdown – a 15-yard pass to Dissly on the next play – and his third one came right after Denver linebacker Von Miller ripped the ball out of running back Chris Carson’s hands.
His second interception ended a potential scoring drive deep into Seattle territory at the end of the first half.
Keenum wasn’t rattled by his turnovers and he led Denver on a game-winning drive right after the Lockett touchdown.
“We take care of the ball—I take care of the ball; those are all on me—we’re going to be really hard to beat,” he said.
Keenum looked in control despite the interceptions. His favorite target was wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who had 10 catches for 135 yards and an acrobatic finish to a touchdown.
The two developed chemistry in the preseason that carried over to the opener.