The second quarter begins with a reversal of the first-quarter field-position trend, as the Broncos start their fourth possession of the night at their 2-yard-line.
6:59 P.M. MST: Cutler’s third pass yields his first completion … for one yard.
7:00 P.M. MST: Paul Ernster channeled his inner Thurman Thomas for a moment, running onto the field without a helmet before quickly returning to the bench to retrieve his headgear. “Really, to be honest with you, he could play without a helmet,” NBC’s John Madden says. Head Coach Mike Shanahan had some words for the second-year punter as he returned to the bench. His subsequent punt covered 43 yards, accounting for a net of 35.
7:04 P.M. MST: Five possessions, two delay-of-game penalties against Seattle. This one helps force a third-down stop — and Seattle’s Pro Bowl stalwart tackle, Walter Jones, is slow to arise after the third-down run.
7:08 P.M. MST: Denver’s lead remains 3-0 after Josh Brown misses from 40 yards away. So far, field position has set up two field-goal tries … the difference is that Jason Elam hit his.
7:11 P.M. MST: A fumbled snap … that’s going to happen when you change half of the center-quarterback partnership. Two plays later, though, Julian Peterson yanks Cutler’s facemask on a scramble, and the infraction pushes Denver across midfield.
7:13 P.M. MST: Cutler looks for Tony Scheffler for a second time tonight, but his pass is behind the fellow rookie and incomplete.
7:14 P.M. MST: A play later, Cutler gets his initial first down through the air — thanks in part to the body control of Stephen Alexander, who keeps his feet inbounds long enough to get the needed yardage. One play later, Tatum Bell totes the frozen rock 31 yards to the Seattle 7-yard-line.
7:16 P.M. MST: Stephen Alexander knew there was only one thing to do with the football he used to score on a 7-yard touchdown reception — give it to the man who sent it in his direction. So after the Broncos all went up to Cutler one-by-one to congratulate him, the nine-year veteran takes his spot at the end of the line and hands Cutler the prized football, one that Cutler will forever treasure.
Oh, and the Broncos now lead 10-0.
7:20 P.M. MST: Delay of game No. 3 against Seattle. At least we know that the crowd’s lips aren’t frozen.
7:22 P.M. MST: Three and out. Seattle fullback Mack Strong is grappling with an ankle injury, although Walter Jones returned after missing no time.
7:26 P.M. MST: Well, no one said Cutler’s first night was going to be perfect. But his first career interception was, well, distinct. Probably as unforgettable for the rookie quarterback as his previous pass, which went for a touchdown.
7:29 P.M. MST: Stephen Alexander walks off the field, but does so with assistance after incurring an injury during an 11-yard Tatum Bell run.
7:31 P.M. MST: Denver’s ground game becoming a significant thread in the storyline: One-hundred thirty yards and counting.
7:32 P.M. MST: Moments after Denver’s youngest offensive starter gives away the football, its oldest loses the handle after a reception as the ball bounces away from Rod Smith.
7:37 P.M. MST: Denver’s defense posts yet another three-and-out. Josh Brown misses from 53 yards away, and a holding penalty on Will Heller — who clotheslined Domonique Foxworth on the play — will give the Broncos possession at the Seattle 47, since it’s assessed 10 yards from the spot of the missed kick. Cutler has 107 seconds and all three timeouts to work with as the Broncos begin this possession.
7:45 P.M. MST: Jason Elam outran Kelly Herndon for a first down, and then drilled a 41-yard field-goal attempt seconds later as the half expires … but Elam came up from the kick hobbling and in obvious pain. Halftime in Denver … Broncos up, 13-7.