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Broncos’ third quarter was the beginning of the end

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The Jaguars crushed the Broncos’ spirit with a brutal third quarter.

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The Denver Broncos’ loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars was nothing short of infuriating as a fan. After taking a 17-3 lead, Joe Flacco’s interception while in field goal range at the end of the first half led to a field goal for the Jaguars, and eventually 20 unanswered points.

Twenty. At home. After taking a big lead.

As I mentioned to Ian St. Clair on the MHR Radio post-game recap (Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify), nothing is more frustrating than how the Broncos came out for the second half. The third quarter was Denver’s opportunity to put an end to any ideas of a comeback. Instead, they gave up a 16-play drive that took over 10 minutes and resulted in the first of two touchdowns by the Jaguars in the third quarter.

Leonard Fournette ate the clock and ran Jacksonville down the field, setting up the eventual touchdown pass from Gardner Minshew to Ryquell Armstead. In the second drive, Fournette ripped off an 81-yard run that helped to set up the next touchdown. It put a huge stamp on the 3rd quarter, and was the turning point in the game.

On the flip side, Denver’s offense lost whatever momentum it had prior to Flacco’s interception. It ran six plays for eight yards total in 2:35 minutes over the course of two three-and-out drives.

And for all the frustration, the Broncos still had a chance to win in the end. Flacco made up for his failings, leading a drive that was capped by an 8-yard touchdown pass to Courtland Sutton.

It was a fleeting lead, as the defense failed to prevent Gardner Minshew from moving the Jags into field goal range. With the aid of a roughing the passer call on Von Miller, a one-yard pass became a 16-yard gain. After a 32-yard pass to Dede Westbrook, and a 17-yard pass to Chris Conley, it was pretty much all over. Josh Lambo’s 33-yard field goal as time expired was the end of the game, but not the end of the frustration.

Von Miller recorded his 100th career sack, and Bradley Chubb added another, as did DeMarcus Walker and Malik Reed. We all wanted to celebrate the coming out party for the defense. We all wanted to enjoy a home win. We all hoped to get excited about how well the offense played. Unfortunately, it never materialized.

It all started in that abysmal third quarter. The collapse began when the Denver Broncos forgot to come out for the second half. We can look for positives later. Right now, I’m just gonna shake my head in disgust.

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