Jaguars 24 Broncos 17
So, Broncos fans. This is what we can expect from our team, they are a hard working yet ultimately not very talented team doing just enough to keep it close but not enough to truly threaten to win. At least, that is what we can expect if this season reflects in any way it’s opening game. I’m hopeful for more, but I don’t know that it’s wise to expect much more.
The Jacksonville game was marked by weirdness and mistakes. The weirdness included an extended lightning delay before playing the fourth quarter, random winds and rain, and the fact that somehow Brandon Lloyd looked like a Pro Bowl wideout. The weirdness included Ryan McBean falling in love with grabbing facemasks, handing thirty yards and decisive momentum to the Jaguars on a drive where they wrestled control of the game for good. Another weird sequence involved another Jaguar touchdown play during which the Broncos decided to try and play defense with only 10 players to try and ramp up the difficulty for some unknown reason. The result was a relatively easy touchdown pass, so I’m thinking it would be best if they avoided that strategy from now on.
This game seems to indicate that the Broncos are counter-punchers. Every time the Jags scored, the Broncos matched it…well, right up until the end when Brandon Lloyd JUST missed getting his second foot down on a fourth down attempt for a touchdown that would have tied things up late in the fourth. Once that happened, it was clear it wasn’t going to be the Broncos day. They fought valiantly throughout, but this team needs to get some breaks, and failing to cause a turnover while giving up two is just something that this team is not talented enough to overcome.
When the lightning and dust had settled, the Broncos were left on the wrong end of a 24-17 score in a game that was imminently winnable throughout the day. The Broncos were going up against a rather dull Jacksonville team that, much like the Broncos, are not exactly overflowing with playmakers, and yet they were able to do enough to beat Denver. Harder games are ahead for the Broncos, which is disconcerting considering how they fell short in this one.
Anyway, let’s get to the positives:
Matt Prater: His kickoffs could have used a bit more oomph, but he nailed a 54 yarder which continues his career long trend of being money from way downtown and being shaky on the gimmies. I almost would rather see Prater line up for a 57 yarder than a 34 yarder at this point.
Brandon Lloyd: Five grabs for 117 yards, Lloyd looked every bit of the All-Pro caliber wide receiver that no one ever thought he was. I don’t know if this was an early season mirage in muggy Florida or the start of a season long trend, but Brandon Lloyd is clearly the early season surprise on the Broncos roster.
Knowshon Moreno: His stats aren’t overwhelming, but he looked solid when given opportunities. He was making some nice moves and getting tough yards. I wasn’t overly impressed with Moreno last season, but yesterday he looked good. Not great, but we’ll take good at this point.
Kyle Orton: Continuing his solid play from the preseason, Orton had a very good game. He still is unable to make things happen AT ALL once things break down, as he just kind of falls in a heap when the pressure comes, but at least he is making some good solid and smart throws. He was just shy of three hundred yards on the day, and only had one interception that ended the game when he was forcing things trying to make something happen to tie the game up in desperation time.
4th and Short: The Broncos defense turned the tide of the game by stopping the Jags from converting on a very short 4th down attempt. It led to a game tying touchdown, unfortunately, the momentum swung back.
Eddie Royal: Looks like year 3 could look more like his glorious rookie year, and less like his sophomore disappointment.
And the negatives:
Ryan McBean - Seriously dude, you have a cool name, but stop grabbing facemasks. A cool name can only take you so far. Josh McDaniels looked like he was about to pop a blood vessel in his face he was so angry at you.
Correll Buckhalter - His running was nothing special, as he still looked hurt, and his first half fumble killed a drive that looked like it had some serious potential. That fumble killed the Broncos chance at grabbing the early lead and hurt the offensive momentum.
Defensive pressure: Or should I say the lack thereof. David Garrard didn't look rushed all day. The lack of Elvis Dumervil is glaring right now.
Tim Tebow: Okay, this isn't really fair, as he wasn't a negative so much as a non-entity on the football field. Two rushes for two yards, not exactly lighting the world on fire in his first appearance, but he did the most he could with the exceptionally limited chances he had. Still, if you were in northern Florida to see your Gator hero, you were underwhelmed.
A few random thoughts about the Jaguars and the game on Sunday:
1. Teal? Really? Yuck.
2. Maurice Jones-Drew is a stud. That little guy is fun to watch. I have no idea how someone that small can be that powerful.
3. Look I get the whole safety first angle, and I understand why it has to be done, but lightning delays really suck. Here, lets rest for 45 minutes before we start the 4th quarter. Threw off the whole football day vibe. (Well, not totally off, it was still a glorious Sunday.)
The Broncos played how we hoped against a somewhat boring team with limited resources...and they still lost. Granted, it's hard to win on the road, and the Broncos are not exactly a loaded team, but still...you'd hope for better. I'm trying to be positive, but this could be a long year. And now, up next is a Seattle Seahawks team that we thought would be weak yet yesterday they demolished the San Francisco 49ers. Stay strong, Broncos fans...We shall overcome...eventually. Go Broncos!