Pretty good Defense
The reason I wasn’t sure whether Seattle would win beyond the main two reasons was the massive change in defensive personnel. The Seahawks had a big turnover of players, especially on the first unit. Leadership was lost when both Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor retired due to neck injuries. Adding to the turnover was the trade of Michael Bennett to Philadelphia and the release of Richard Sherman, who then signed with the San Francisco 49ers.
Starting cornerback Dontae Johnson was put on Injured Reserve days before the opener, and linebacker K.J. Wright missed the game with an injury. The Seahawks did have the return of Earl Thomas after he sat out all of training camp and pre-season games over a contract dispute. I am sure most would agree the Seahawks are a better team with Thomas on the defense than without him. Still though how good a defense they would be anyway?
One other big change took place off the field. Ken Norton Jr. came over from San Francisco to be the defensive coordinator. New coach, a new way of doing things. The remaining veterans had to make adjustments from their previous defensive coordinator Kris Richard.
The Seahawks defense played okay at times, however, Denver was able to move the ball both on the ground and through the air for a total of 470 yards. They kept the game close by forcing three Broncos turnovers. Earl Thomas got an early interception to set up a touchdown and then Brad McDougald added two more interceptions (almost three).