If there is such thing as a moral victory, is there such a thing as a disheartening one?
Make no mistake, the Denver Broncos won decisively against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 6. There should be no complaints. They were up two touchdowns, 35-19, with four minutes to play, and finished the game with the 16-point win.
But from start to finish, the entire Broncos performance had an underwhelming feeling. Between a negative turnover ratio, fumbled snaps, and allowing Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne to outthrow Peyton Manning, the entire game was overshadowed with a sense of disappointment.
The entire game had an overarching theme: "I know the Broncos can do better."
And a better team would have made them pay.
Credit the Jacksonville Jaguars responding to the insulting 28-point spread, and remind yourself that this is the NFL. These are professionals, man for man, team for team, across the league.
The first half was a comedy of errors for the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos' defense, which got torched a week ago by the Dallas Cowboys, again showed susceptibility to the pass. This time QB Chad Henne and WR Justin Blackmon were able to repeatedly connect, with the Jaguars marching into Denver territory multiple times.
Peyton Manning, knocked down from the realm of the invincible, could not get the Broncos offense going. Three straight drives resulted in no points for the Broncos (punt, lost fumble, punt) before Manning finally coughed up an interception that Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny returned for a touchdown.
The Jaguars actually outgained the Broncos 175 yards to 165 yards in the first half.
But in the end, Peyton Manning and the Broncos took care of business. Knowshon Moreno rushed for three touchdowns, and Manning threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns. Denver, a second half team all season, took a 14-12 halftime lead and turned it into a large two touchdown victory.
They'll need to play better for Manning's homecoming against the 4-1 Indianapolis Colts in Week 7.