By Marc Mandell

The Broncos won!!! Now be honest, how many of you saw Denver winning this game? Denver only converted one 3rd down all day long, and they had 9 three and outs! Between the 4 yard pass on 3rd and 9, and the 15 yarder on a 3rd and 2, I thought they were trying to show what not to do! Shockingly they missed on both attempts. Weird, I know. Denver couldn’t convert on the ground, through the air or even when the giraffe of a QB, Paxton Lynch took off running for his life. Remember folks, the Jags are now 2-10, and very nearly beat the Broncos. For most of the 4th quarter, the game was very much in question. Against the Jags ya’ll.

I want to get this out of the way right now. Penalties at the end of games by this defense is out of control. I know it sounds severe, but like I said earlier this week, this group should be immune to such an infection. Wade did a terrific job with the first half of the game, but half way through the 4th quarter we once again watched this ugly issue repossess it’s cold grip on the defense. Four times the defense allowed the Jaguars to keep their drive alive and put what should have been a “send it to bed” half, into the vastness of would, and could, to maybe. To me the biggest difference from last year is, the defense isn’t finishing games as strong as last season. If they can clean that up the rest of the stretch, the Broncos will have a real chance in January. Thanks for letting me vent a moment, I feel better now, so let’s move on shall we?

Let’s start with Lynch. He had a rough day. What did you see from the rookie? What I saw was just that, a rookie. Timing and anticipation were the fiends that plagued him. He doesn’t have a lot of wasted motion in his throws, but his foot work was erratic. Some plays it was good, pointed and deliberate. Others it was shaky, and lacking discipline. He was exactly like the offensive line of Denver, constantly inconsistent. Some plays it’s all there, the feet, the throw, the timing, and others it seems like he’s never done it before. Part of that is because he hasn’t really ever done this before. It was his second start, and boy was it apparent. His stat line certainly reflects such a game; 12/24 for 104 yards and 0 TD’s. The more important part of that stat line that was 0 picks. He didn’t do all he could to get the win, but he didn’t do everything he could to lose either, ball protection is very important. Over-all he was a rookie that looked, and played like one. 1-1 as a starter so far. Congrats on your first win Lynch!

MVP of this game for Denver has to be, must be, absolutely was Bradley Roby. He had a terrific game yesterday. He was everywhere on the field, forcing 3 of Jacksonville’s 3 and outs and had a wonderful pick six in the third quarter to put the Broncos up 17-3. He had passes defended and played good, solid secondary defense. The best part about that game for Roby is that, that was only a little better than he plays every week. He is always around the ball and usually playing top tier football. Roby is always hawking. Well done 29, well done this week indeed.

There were two other candidates for this honor in week 13. Both reside on the defense, and both are masters of their positions. Chris Harris and you guessed it Von WareWolfe! Miller was a disturbance all morning long, and continued his ferment into the afternoon. It was Miller after all that forced the fumble from Bortles to put Denver in great field position. Vonster is always a great force that teams hate to have to deal with. As a Bronco fan though, it’s like licking your chops every time the ball is snapped.

Chris Harris, much like Von, is always playing at an extremely high level. He was responsible for four, 3 and outs like Roby was, and like Roby again, had 1 of the three turnovers committed by the Jags. All three turnovers were made or recovered by Von, Roby, Harris and Ray. It was a great game for those 4, and pretty good for the others on the team. Shane Ray played well, and Aqib Talib continued his Pro Bowl season. This is why the penalties near the end of games that are allowing opposing teams to continue drives is so damned confusing and aggravating! They have these teams dead to rights, then violate a rule at the worst time! It’s not like them to do this, hence the frustration.

One more quick note before we get outta here. Kalif Raymond, the rookie from Holy Cross performed pretty well in his new role with the special teams. He did have one bad play early on, making a rookie mistake allowing the ball to roll to the 10 yard line before trying to scoop it up. He was understandably met with several members of the Jaguars, who promptly shut him down. The rest of the game though, if that was a little glimpse of what he can do, I trust him more than I do Jordan Norwood, who, if you noticed or didn’t rather, had a very quiet game, didn’t he?

Denver has scored over 93 points from takeaways this year, and though the run defense isn’t what it was last season, the Broncos are still ranked in the top 4 for pass defense. Because we still haven’t seen this team hit on all eight cylinders for an entire game, we won’t know just what this team can do. If any of this year has shown us, it’s that if Denver is going to hit on all eight, they are waiting till the best time of year to demonstrate it. With a trip to Tennessee coming up next week, and a date with TB12 the week following, there won’t be a better time than now.