I had a moment of nervousness when the Denver Broncos took on the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was early on. The Jaguars marched down the field and scored. Eleven plays, 83 yards, 5:39 gone, and doubt started to creep in.
The Broncos were helped by Josh Lambo missing two long field goals in the second quarter, but as I told Ian St. Clair, it started to feel a little like 2020. Especially since it took until the 2 minute warning in the first half for the Broncos to score a touchdown. After taking the lead with that score, the Broncos never looked back.
The second half was back to the present. The defense, after allowing the Jaguars to score on their first possession, kept Trevor Lawrence out of the end zone until garbage time.
Von Miller had the team’s only sack, but the defense harassed Lawrence all game. Kareem Jackson grabbed an interception on the Jags second drive of the second half. Rookie Patrick Surtain II made a circus catch on the sideline for his first career INT. The defense was stingy.
On top of the stingy defense, the offense opened the second half with a 4-play 75 yard TD drive. The drive included a 55-yard pass to Courtland Sutton, who had a breakout game after being almost invisible in Week 1. His 9 catches for 159 yards led the team, and were paramount to the Broncos offensive success.
Bridgewater showed Sutton a lot of love, but also spread the ball around, completing passes to 9 different receivers. Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam both had 4 catches. Fant scored his first TD of the season. Tim Patrick was, once again, Teddy’s target at the end of the first half, scoring his second TD of the season.
Good teams capitalize on their opponents mistakes, and the Broncos did just that. While Lambo missed a couple long FG attempts, Brandon McManus nailed all three of his attempts. The Broncos took advantage of the Jaguars mistakes. Turning both interceptions into points.
It was almost a complete game for the Broncos. Aside from a kick return for a TD in the 4th quarter, the garbage time score, the Broncos played well. It is hard to complain about 2-0 when the Broncos hadn’t won in September since 2018. Cleaning up a few penalties, and fixing the special teams miscues (how is Tom McMahon still with the team?) will go a long way to pushing for a playoff spot.
Maybe it’s just the excitement of starting 2-0, but the Denver Broncos look like a team that can make a playoff run.