The Denver Broncos didn’t win pretty over the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the few key plays from these players made the difference in the 20-10 win that kept Denver in the playoff hunt and the AFC West title hunt.
Here are our game balls.
Paxton Lynch looked like a raw rookie making his second career start on the road against the #4 pass defense in the league. After that poor, albeit winning performance, quarterback Trevor Siemian is the unquestioned starter of the Broncos going forward. Hopefully he gets and stays healthy for the stretch run. - Scotty Payne
Another game and another dominating performance for Von Miller. Miller's latest showing did not come with the eye-popping stats he like posted last week against Kansas City, yet no. 58 was a silent terror for the Jaguars' offense all afternoon. Jacksonville came into the game with a solid game plan for Miller, running at the Broncos' sack master early and often with hopes of wearing him out and limiting his effectiveness in the 4th quarter.
A wise gameplan, but it did not work. Miller was still a force and had direct impact in forcing two turnovers that ended up being two of the games biggest plays. Midway through the 3rd quarter, Jacksonville faced a 3rd and 4 from their own 49 yard line. With Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles lined up in shotgun, Miller fired off the ball and bull-rushed the Jags left tackle, Kelvin Beachum, pushing the 306lbs lineman right into the lap of Bortles. Just as Bortles threw the ball, Miller maked contact and the ball fluttered right into the arms of Bradley Roby who ran it in for the score, giving the Broncos a 17-3 lead.
As the the game tighten up in the 4th quarter, Von Miller came to the rescue yet again. Trailing 17-10 with less than 2 minutes remaining in the game, the Jaguars looked as though they were finding some rhythm and were making an attempt to tie or take the lead. Once again Bortles lined up in the gun and once again Von Miller bull-rushed. This time it was Jacksonville's 311lbs right tackle, Jermey Parnell who was put on skates by Miller. Miller shoved Parnell into the throwing arm of Bortles causing the ball to pop out, which was then recovered by Shane Ray, all but sealing the game for Denver. Both of these plays do not look like anything special on the stat sheet, but they were both huge plays in a tight road win for the Broncos.
NFL should find a way to credit Von Miller with something here. Another game-changing turnover forced. pic.twitter.com/ZujZf3brO1— Scott Kacsmar (@FO_ScottKacsmar) December 5, 2016
Week in and week out, Von Miller is having a big time impact on games and has made a strong case to be the current front-runner for the league's defensive player of the year. My game ball this week comes with a bottle of wine and a thank you note to Broncos' stud pass rusher, Von Miller. - Derek Ahrnsbrak
My game ball this week goes to Kalif Raymond. Not because he made any game changing plays, but because he made our return game look, feel, and work more effective than it has in well over a year. After one return where he didn't signal fair catch well he made really smart decisions for the rest of the game and looked dangerous when he did get the opportunity to return. - Sadaraine
Chris Harris Jr.
We finally hear hype about how good Chris Harris, Jr. is in the MSM (something Broncos Country has known for years). This season he's been strangely quiet. Want to know why? Because good NFL QBs don't throw his way. This week the NFL was given a treat of getting to see Harris having more targets thrown his way than what feels like any 3 games combined this season. He was targeted 9 times, allowed 3 catches, had 2 passes defended, and one magnificent juggling INT. CHJ is one of Broncos Country's favorite players because he's a top 5 NFL corner and he gets my game ball this week. - Sadaraine (hat tip to Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann who claimed this game ball originally)
My game ball goes to Billy Winn because no one stood out in this game. I'm picking him because he scared the Cleveland Browns out of me. His injury was right in front of us and for a while he wasn't moving at all besides a twitch here or there. They did not show him on the big screen at the stadium, so have no idea what they showed on TV, just know it didn't look good. So, I'm sending him my game ball in hopes his injury isn't bad and he recovers soon. - Julie Dixon
With his 51-yard pick-six in the third quarter, Roby is the ninth player in club history with multiple interceptions returned for touchdowns. He joins fellow members of the No Fly Zone, Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib. It’s also the third “pick-six” of the year for the Broncos, tied for the most in the NFL. Roby’s play, for all intents and purposes, ended the game and took the pressure off the offense. - Ian St. Clair
My game ball goes to Riley Dixon. When your offense has eight 3-and-outs in one game (WAS has 12 total this SEASON), your punter better be a weapon. Dixon was just that on Sunday - a weapon. It's never a good sign when your punter "outgains" your offense by 300 yards (Dixon had 11 punts for 506 yards - the DEN offense gained 206 yards). Dixon (and the punt coverage team) succeeded at pinning the Jags inside the 5 two times and his only touchback literally died on the goal-line (went in and came back out). How impressive is pinning the Jags twice in one game? Britton Colquitt was only able to pin our opponents inside the 5 three times in 2015. Riley Dixon almost did it three times in one game. - Joe Mahoney
When the offense punts 12 times and has one third down conversion, teams usually lose. And it likely could have happened here if not for Kapri Bibbs providing the spark the offense lacked the entire game.
In limited action, Bibbs picked up 49 yards on just five carries. Most of it came in the second quarter when the Broncos scored their only offensive touchdown. The reason it wasn’t more was Bibbs injured his ankle and the offensive production vanished as Denver gained 53 yards on 23 plays in the second half.
Have a game ball, Kapri! - Tim Lynch