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Here we go Broncos – Here we go (clap, clap) Denver takes the kick and comes out on fire – Orton to Graham on the opening play pulls down a sweet 29-yards… If it could only be this easy the rest of the way.
Nice drive and here comes Tebow – QB up the middle for 1-yard – the crowd is going crazy…. I expect we'll see him a few times today – Orton shows a lot of poise – hits Royal for 13. Nice movement…
Broncos cross midfield but the drive stalls thanks in part to an offensive holding penalty on rookie Zane Beadles and a QB sack – 8-yard loss and Colquitt makes his first appearance – Jags ball on their own 8-yard line.
Our first look at the Broncos "D" and it's better than I thought – at least at this stage… contained the run – applied the pressure and Garrard and Co. come up empty – MJD 12-yards on four carries – this is going to be key – but I'm not sure it's gonna last long… Broncos take the punt and get ready for their second possession.
Still have some movement but their not really getting anywhere – 5-plays and a punt isn't going to make it on the road in JAG Town – Colquitt Part Two – 51-yard punt.
At least these teams are pretty evenly matched – nobody's making any progress – Jags pull out their own 7-play and a punt drive as the First winds down – Broncos take it deep in their own territory with under two minutes remaining – Quarter comes to a close with Orton and Co on their own 18… pretty uneventful but at least they're not trailing it – nice containment on MJD – let's see if it lasts…
Broncos show a little more progress – nice mix on the run/pass ratio with a little luck thrown in on a pass deflection Eddie Royal snared out of nowhere. Offense continues to roll – right up till the point Correll Buckhalter coughs it up on the Jags 24-yard line – perfect bust for the best drive of the day so far… McDaniels looks bent - can you blame him?
Blah, Blah, Blah… Jags pull another 5-plays and a punt and Denver follows with their own 3 and out – Offensively both teams blow – defensively the Broncos have been able to contain the run for the most part but Jacksonville's making their first threat of the day.
Two-minute warning and the Jags are facing 4th and one from midfield – on the ground and the drive continues. Garrard to the air hits Mike Thomas for a huge 26-yard gain and follows up with a strike to TE Marcedes Lewis who takes it in for the first score of the game… Broncos in the hole 7-0 with less than a minute left in the half. Here comes Orton and Co – don't hold your breath…
Ok…. I take it back – go ahead and hold your breath - Orton unloads – 41-yards downfield to Brandon Lloyd on the sideline – three timeouts and thirty-two seconds left… out of the shotgun from the Jags 33-yard line – Orton to Royal and the ball is down to the eight – Orton's blowing it up and Jacksonville's backpedaling – Orton to Graham – near pick ball falls incomplete… Follows up with a perfect shot to Gaffney in the back of the end zone – Sixteen seconds and the embarrassment is minimized… Absolutely perfect drive engineered by Orton, who's my new best friend… Props to the O-line as well – wicked sweet movement…
Winks "D" looks to kill it off for the first half – Jags and Broncos are tied at 7 and I'm getting ready to burn one… this might turn out to be fun – who knows….
Barely back in my seat and I'm already sensing the meltdown – OUCH - Special Teams gives it up quicker than Jenna Jameson – HUGE 47-yard return on the opening kick and it was all downhill from there… 7-plays later Garrard connects with Lewis for a second time today and the crowd's back in it – Jags pull of with a 14-7 lead and hold all the momentum at this point – interesting to see how McDaniels responds…
Initial response isn't bad – but it's hard to operate when you're flat on your back – at least for most people it is – drive stalls as Orton suffers his third sack of the day – Colquitt Part Three – Jags will take it at their own 30…
Major props to Jack Del Rio – dude certainly has a pair – Jags march down to their own 40 and face 4th and one - without batting an eye he jumps on it… Unfortunately so does the Broncos "D" and DJ Williams is dancing off the field on the Broncos turnover on downs… sweet break and a short field – this could play out nice…
Del Rio may wanna rethink that one – brass move backfires and Orton engineers a sweet 4-play, 40-yard drive with Knowshon Moreno taking it in from the 1-yard line… Broncos tie it at 14-14 with just over 4:00 left in the third.
Did I mention that Special Teams blows? You give up half the field to any team in this league and they're going to make you pay – this time it's a field goal and the Jags are back on top 17-14.
Great – here comes the rain – like I'm not having a bad enough hair day as it is… third quarter comes to a close.
Oh – this is perfect… game delay due to lightening – this is really going to jack up Happy Hour. What's next?
At least it'll give me time to check out my Week One Picks… Ok - well that wasn't the best idea... I'm turning into the Special Teams of Sports Picks.
Wow - looks like we're getting set to continue the madness - Broncos ball on their own 22-yard line... this should be fun
Orton opens it up with a wicked 27-yard pick up to Brandon Lloyd down the sideline – Del Rio challenges – Bad Karma from the 4th down call – pass is complete and Denver's moving it from just short of midfield.
Give it to Buck – grabbing a yard… Third and four out of the shotgun and the dude actually scrambles – head first for the first - slip n slide and it's a first down on the Jags 40.
Here we go - breakdown in communication – McD is forced to take a time out – here comes the temper tantrum – this one's almost classic… Gotta check it later on SportsCenter.
Another jack up – delay of game is moving it back and Denver faces a third and fifteen… Orton to Royal picks up nine of those and it's wet and sloppy for Matt Prater who drills it from 54-yards out and the Broncos tie it up… Prater's automatic from beyond fifty this year – well, he's 1-1 which is pretty automatic if you look at it in a positive sense.
We've got our first "Dog House recipient of the afternoon – DL Ryan McBean – back to back face mask penalties pretty much allow Jacksonville free reign downfield – Garrard connects with Kassim Osgood from 24-yards out and the Jags pull out 24-17 with just over 8:00 left in the game.
Wondering if anybody misses Brandon Marshall – Orton to Lloyd is looking pretty good at this stage – Broncos are on the move… inside Jags territory and Denver's looking at fourth and three inside the twenty… Orton to Lloyd in the corner of the end zone – ball is caught – play is ruled out of bounds – no need for a challenge – he was out of bounds… Jacksonville takes over possession - just over four-minutes remain.
If he plays it right Garrard can almost run this one out – MJD's the perfect weapon – keeping it on the ground and chewing up the clock – McD's got one time out left after burning one right out of the rain delay… We're down to the two-minute warning – Defense plays it tight and the Jags are forced to punt - it's all up to Orton and Co to try and pull this one out. Let's see what McD's got up his sleeve…
D Thomas takes the kick – ball is returned to the Denver 23… sideline shot to Lloyd is a waste of time –3-yard pick up. Across the middle to Lloyd again grabs a first at the 36. Near Pick on Orton brings up second and ten – Real pick on Orton ends it – looking for Royal deep left ends up in the arms of Daryl Smith – Game, Set, Match – the Broncos drop the season opener 27-14… Pretty sure I need a drink.
Notes and Quotes to follow shortly
Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past twelve-years. As a member of the Pro Football Writers Association he has published and syndicated columns to both newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada. His syndicated radio broadcast: "Schon Live" airs weekly on various radio and Internet stations around the country. You can follow all of Schon's updates on Twitter - Facebook or drop him an email at Michael John Schon
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