ENGLEWOOD, Colorado. Denver Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett calls football real estate inside the opposing 20-yard line the “golden zone.”

However, in two games during his tenure, there wasn’t much gold in those hills. The Broncos, who didn’t average more than 21 points per game during their six-year playoff drought, didn’t score 16 points in any of their first two games and didn’t throw a touchdown in six 20-yard runs. opponent. line.

- Advertisement -

“We just have to make sure we measure everything,” Hackett said after Sunday’s 16-9 win over the Houston Texans.

- Advertisement -

“We have to fix this, just like that,” Broncos wide receiver Tyree Cleveland said. “When we are in the red zone, we need to score seven points instead of three.”

- Advertisement -

The fight in the red zone comes down to two points – the Broncos make too many mistakes in the end zone that have nothing to do with the opponent’s defense, and inefficiently throw the ball into the net. go situations.

In his six trips into the red zone, quarterback Russell Wilson passes 5 of 14 with no touchdowns, the Broncos missed three (two false starts and a delay) and lost the ball twice. Both fumbles were out of the rally, which began with Wilson in the shotgun.

“Whether you need to take staff out… make sure the games are nice and clean, or just get in and out of the crowd,” Hackett said. “So we just need to keep talking about it. I’ll talk to Russ, see what I can do to help him fix the situation. It’s unforgivable. It’s on us, we’re hurting ourselves.”

In other words, the Broncos lined up inside the opposing 10-yard line for 18 plays in two games. They have yet to score a touchdown on either of those plays and are 0-for-8 in their last eight-for-10 pass attempts, including 0-for-10 Sunday in the Texans’ top ten.

With a strong offensive roster and some of the league’s most experienced quarterbacks – led by Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert in their own division alone – lined up, the Broncos can’t afford to be a 16-point-per-game team.

And they are currently trapped in the movement of the ball because they stop doing what they were doing to get into goal position when they are in goal position. They do have 783 offensive yards in two games — fifth in the league with 391.5 per game — but that turned into 26th in the league in scoring because they can’t hit their football free throws.

“When you think of the red zone, it all comes down to making a crazy catch, a crazy run, a crazy game, that’s what it is,” Wilson said. “…We just need to put on these plays. That’s what it all comes down to. It’s not well thought out.”

More than thirty years ago, long before the NFL instituted passing offense to succeed by changing the rulebook and forcing the defense to “emphasize” officiating, former Steelers offensive coordinator Ron Ehrhardt said, “You shoot to score, run.” , to win”. . ”But these Broncos, at this point introducing a new offense, may have to run to score so they can win. With Wilson in the middle, with playful action and a wide variety of options available to running backs Javonte Williams (5.4 yards per carry in two games) and Melvin Gordon III (4.8 yards per carry in two games).

The Broncos are ninth in the league in rushing and tied for seventh in the league in yards per carry (4.9), but have no rushing touchdowns. They do have two fumbles on the draw – both shotgun – in their four red zone dash attempts this season.

“There was definitely something we liked about the passing game because they put everyone in the box,” Hackett said after winning Sunday. “But in the end, we have to be able to escape there, we have to go down the hill and maybe someone will have to run over.”

“We don’t have to walk away from the situation because we understand what we can do as an insult,” wide receiver Cortland Sutton said. “We understand our strengths and what we do very well. We’re going to be the dominant team in the red zone. It’s on us. We have plays, (we) have players. It’s just one of us doing these things to be able to put points on the board.”