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(Sunday, September 19th)
Final Score: Denver 31, Seattle 14
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Kyle Orton was at the head of an effective Denver offense with 307 yards passing and two touchdowns as the Broncos handled Seattle, 31-14, at Invesco Field at Mile High.
Orton hit on 25-of-35 passes and developed a nice rapport with rookie receiver Demaryius Thomas, who sat out the season opener and all of the preseason with a foot injury. Denver's top draft pick this past April, Thomas debuted with eight catches for 97 yards with a 21-yard touchdown.
A balanced rushing attack saw Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter both find the end zone, while Eddie Royal reeled in a 13-yard touchdown en route to a 65-yard, five-catch day for Denver (1-1), which bounced back from a disappointing loss to Jacksonville in Week 1.
Matt Hasselbeck was picked off three times -- twice inside the Denver 10-yard line -- and was held to 233 yards passing on 20-of-35 attempts.
The veteran signal-caller's 20-yard scoring run and an 11-yard touchdown pass to Ben Obomanu provided the offense for Seattle (1-1), which got off to an impressive start in Week 1 with a sound 31-6 beating of NFC West favorite San Francisco.
The Seahawks turned it over a total of four times, with a muffed punt by rookie Walter Thurmond at his own 13-yard line leading to a quick seven points for Denver in the first quarter.
Hasselbeck's overthrow of Deion Branch just outside the right pylon was picked off by Champ Bailey to ruin a promising opening drive for Seattle, which had marched downfield from its own 20.
Denver was forced to punt, but the Seahawks' second turnover proved costly as Thurmond botched the catch and set Denver up at the 13. Three plays later Orton found Royal in the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
The Broncos set off on their next scoring venture on the final play of the first quarter, and 4 1/2 minutes into the second Buckhalter was polishing off a 10-play, 81-yard drive with a one-yard scoring plunge.
Hasselbeck came back to lead Seattle deep into Denver territory but was again picked off, this time by Brian Dawkins at the nine-yard line on a deep pass up the left side intended for John Carlson.
"The fact that we didn't capitalize when we were down there (the red zone) because we turned the football over going in, all of those things...give you a really good chance to have a tough day. We made it really hard on ourselves," said Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll. "Matt threw some great balls and he threw some balls that he'd pull back in a heartbeat."
A lengthy Denver drive on the ensuing possession took all but 11 seconds off the clock in the first half, as Matt Prater made it a 17-0 game at halftime with a 20-yard field goal.
"We wanted to try and force Hasselbeck into some tough throwing situations. We thought we had a chance to get some turnovers and our guys made some plays when given the opportunity and our offense capitalized on them," said Denver head coach Josh McDaniels.
The Seahawks finally broke through for a score to open the second half. The drive started at the Denver 22 after Golden Tate's 63-yard punt return and Hasselbeck hit Obomanu near the goal line for an 11-yard touchdown a short time later.
Denver erased the score with a methodical 10-play, 80-yard trek that shaved over six minutes off the clock and saw Moreno breach the end zone from one yard out.
"The defense was really poor today. We couldn't get off the field on third down and it kind of flip-flopped on the other side," added Carroll.
It remained a three-score game moving to the fourth and Denver essentially put the game away with another near eight-minute, 80-yard drive with Thomas' first career NFL touchdown serving as the finishing touch.
Seattle went into a hurry-up offense and Hasselbeck found the end zone on a 20-yard run to cap the scoring.
The Broncos won their 11th consecutive home opener, the longest such active streak in the league. Denver's all-time record in home openers is also tops in the NFL at 38-12-1...Moreno also caught four passes for 67 yards...Tate returned two punts for 82 yards and caught a 52-yard pass in his first taste of pro action. The rookie out of Notre Dame was inactive for Week 1...Deon Butler was Seattle's top receiving threat with five receptions and 50 yards...Denver hosts the Colts next Sunday, while the Seahawks host San Diego.
09/19 20:51:48 ET