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Rattled Russ? Seahawks Defense, 12th Man the Difference in Win Over Broncos

The 12th man's presence - one that comforted Russell Wilson for 10 years - was undeniable as a game-changing support for the Seattle defense.

Few outside the Seattle Seahawks fanbase and organization gave coach Pete Carroll's team a chance at getting an emotion-filled season-opening win over the Denver Broncos and longtime Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson in Week 1.

But a rugged win is still a win, as the Seahawks pulled off a 17-16 victory in front of the 12th man in the season opener at Lumen Field Monday night. 

The fans were sent home happy with a win they'll remember for a long time. But it was the 12's presence - one that comforted Wilson for 10 years - that was undeniable as a game-changer against the Denver offense. Combine this with a defense that didn't allow a red-zone touchdown, and you get a recipe for success. 

The Broncos committed critical offensive penalties due to the crowd noise and had multiple rushed snaps that nearly added to this total. Denver had three false starts and two delay-of-game penalties, as Wilson was now at the mercy of a home-field advantage he had cherished for his entire career. 

The Seattle defense took advantage.

Denver allowed no touchdowns in four Denver trips to the red zone, as the Broncos' only touchdown came on a huge 67-yard connection from Wilson to receiver Jerry Jeudy. Aside from that, it was Carroll's tough-nosed defense that dominated the red area. 

Broncos running backs Melvin Gordon III and Javonte Williams had back-to-back fumbles inside the five-yard line. On Williams' fumble, Wilson once again ran the play clock all the way down and possibly rushed a snap that didn't need to happen as he handed the ball off in a hurry. 

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The Seahawks, who had the fifth-fewest takeaways (18) last season, were performing like a team that was playing for more than just a season-opening win. 

And while those game-defining turnovers were partially to blame on the Broncos, the rattled nature of the offense was no doubt a product of the deafening noise that rang in Wilson's ear and the defense that forced him into uncharacteristic throws (with two dropped Seattle interceptions), eight quarterback hits, and two sacks. 

The Seahawks are now flying high above the NFC West with a 1-0 record after Week 1, but it's no secret that this win meant more.

You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7

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