By Jeremy Layton
Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett had a brutal debut on “Monday Night Football” against the Seahawks in Week 1.
In Week 2, despite the fact that Denver pulled out the win, things got even worse.
The Broncos flailed through their 16-9 victory over the Texans, facing raucous boos from the home crowd as they continually struggled with the game clock and failed to score in the red zone. Fans were so annoyed with Hackett that they began sarcastically counting down the game clock as Denver lined up on offense.
The red zone struggles from Week 1 also continued in a big way. The Broncos had to settle for two field goals after getting inside Houston’s 2-yard line. On the season, the Broncos have had three opportunities inside the opponent’s 5-yard line, and have failed to score touchdown on all three occasions.
Broncos fans are clearly not enthused with Hackett’s performance so far, booing the team relentlessly throughout the game.
“I don’t blame them,” Hackett said of the boos. “I mean, heck, I’d be booing myself. I was very frustrated. Get down to the red zone two times and don’t get a touchdown, which is unbelievably frustrating – I don’t think we’ve scored in there yet – that’s something that, all of our guys have to step up whether we run the ball more or whatever we’re doing, we’ve just got to execute at a higher level.”
In his debut as Broncos coach last week, Hackett opted to attempt a 64-yard field goal instead of allowing Russell Wilson and the offense to go for it on fourth-and-5. Brandon McManus missed the kick in the 17-16 defeat. Hackett, who spent three years as the Packers offensive coordinator before being hired by the Broncos this offseason, admitted the next day the Broncos “definitely” should have gone for it.
Penalties were also a huge problem for the Broncos, with false starts and delay of games coming at often inopportune times. Denver had 13 penalties in the game for 100 yards.
Wilson, signed to a $245 million extension before playing in a game for Denver, struggled along with the whole offense on Sunday, completing less than 50 percent of his passes. His fourth-quarter, 22-yard touchdown pass to Eric Saubert, however, did prove to be the difference in the game.
The Broncos take on the 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo on “Sunday Night Football” in Week 3.