Welcome to Week Three kids - here's the list of inactives for today's game - S Hamza Abdullah (hip), RB Andre Hall, OL Ben Hamilton (concussion), T Ryan Harris (back), TE Stephen Alexander, WR Brian Clark, DT Antwon Burton and DE Tim Crowder.
Jacksonville wins the toss and takes first possession. Not much action on the first series - Garrard's feelling out the front line but the Broncos hold tight - QB sack stalls the drive just short of the forty and the Jags are forced to punt.
Shanahan breaks open the playbook - double reverse with Javon Walker drops a yard. Daniel Graham gets in the action - perfect catch across midfield is brought back with an illegal motion penalty. Cecil Sapp gets some of the penalty yardage back but the Broncos can't convert a third and five - Todd Sauerbrun sends it through the end zone and Jacksonville takes it at the twenty…
Garrard playing it conservative - nice ground attack moves the ball into Broncos territory. Broncos aren't giving up the huge play - but they haven't been able to stop the run. Maurice Jones-Drew breaks it into the red zone - Garrard QB scramble from seven hit's the end zone but it's called back on a motion penalty. Take Two finds Jones-Drew on a short pass - John Lynch tries to separate him from his head - It seems like the Jags have had the ball since the dawn of time - Quarter comes to a scoreless close - Broncos had one drive the entire quarter.
Jags continue to pound it but another motion penalty moves it pass the ten. Garrard scrambles right - hits Reggie Williams in the end zone - Jags take a 7-0 lead. Eighteen plays, 80-yards in just under twelve minutes - Broncos D got flagged on the touchdown pass for twelve men on the field - second week in a row this has happened.
Denver offense FINALLY takes the field - Cutler's mixing it up - hits Walker for 11 but it's brought back on an interference penalty on Brandon Stokley. Selvin Young picks up six on the ground before Cutler fires off the deep ball to a wide open Brandon Marshall moves it across midfield down to the Jags 35 - play was good for 49-yards. Cutler connects with Marshall agains for twelve - moving it to the 29. Offensive holding moves it back ten - Mike Bell looses four more trying to go up the middle - this isn't good - Broncos go back to what works: Cutler to Marshall again - second-year vet breaks about a dozen tackles and spins his way to the one - it's a thirty-yard pick up and it gives Denver a first and goal with three feet to go. Cutler finds Nate Jackson on a crossing play and the Broncos tie it up with 6:44 left in the half.
It's back to work for a tired Denver defense and thanks to a 42-yard kick return the Jags have a pretty short field. Del Rio's got a great game plan - and the Broncos simply can't stop the momentum. Garrard moves it into the Broncos red zone and Greg Jones takes it home - four-yards straight up the middle for the score - Jacksonville takes a 14-7 lead with under two minutes remaining.
Broncos have one shot left in the half - Cutler takes over at the twenty - hits Marshall for a short four - follows it up with a toss to Selvin Young who breaks it for seventeen big ones before gets the ball stripped - Jags recover at the Broncos 42-yard line with a buck thirty-nine left in the half. This is starting to get ugly…
Garrard gets set for the two minute drill - connects with Dennis Northcutt for a sixteen-yard pick up - another eight yards on a toss to Reggie Williams moves it to the Broncos 18. Jones-Drew off left guard moves it to the nine - Garrard connects with Jones-Drew on an eight-yard pick up to the one. Third and one and for some unexplainable reason Garrard spikes the ball to stop the clock with nineteen seconds - plenty of time to have scored - but nobody here's complaining - John Carney split's the uprights and the Jaguars extend the lead 17-7.
Broncos take over with eight seconds on the clock - Cutler takes a knee and it's back to the drawing board for the hometown team - Pretty lousy way to lead in to Terrell Davis' induction to the Ring of Fame halftime ceremony. At least the Broncos take the kick for the second half…
Disaster strikes in Denver - Domenik Hixon coughs it up on the eighteen - Shanny challenges the call but it's pointless - it stands as called and Jacksonville gets another chance to pile it on.
Denver's D is forced to play it without John Lynch - a strained groin in the second quarter sidelines the Pro Bowler - Garrard turns to Fred Taylor for a sweet five then tacks on another four on a QB scramble - Drive stalls at the 13 where Carney splits it easily - Jags are blowing them out 20-7.
Ok - here we go - something's got to go right sooner or later - evidently it's later, Cutler and the Broncos go three and out and the Jags get ready to take the punt. Quick glance at the stat sheet and the Broncos trail miserably in almost every category. I hope nobody made any postseason plans.
Dever takes it at the Jags 44 - Cutler to Marshall is good for 17 - Marshall is today's "Go to Guy" for whatever that's worth. Cutler to Marshall again moves it to the twelve - 13-yard pick up. Toss to Walker moves it to the four and the Broncos burn their second timeout. Young up the middle for one - UNBELIEVABLE - Cutler calls the teams final time out. Fourth and one from the three and Shanny call a QB sneak - play goes nowhere and Jacksonville takes over on downs - Broncos walk away empty handed trailing 20-7. Whatever home field advantage the Broncos had, seems to have disappeared - over the last six games they're sitting at 2-4.
For a change the Jags seem to be slowing down - three and out forces a punt from the twenty-four - Terrible kick, travels 39-yards and Denver takes over at their own forty with time running out in the third.
It's now or never as Cutler hits Sapp for five. After an incomplete to Marshall, Cutler hits Stokley for a nice seventeen as the third quarter comes to a close.
Henry up the middle for six - another incomplete to Marshall brings up third and four - Cutler connects with Stokley for sixteen. Short left to Marshall picks up eight. Travis on the ground is good for five - one more shot and Henry scores his first touchdown at Invesco Field. Broncos trim the lead 20-14 with 12:45 left in the game.
Jags take the kick at the seventeen with one goal in mind - waste as much time as possible - Broncos are out of time outs. Plan is working perfectly - Garrard cuts it down near the six minute mark and moves the ball to the Broncos one. Jones-Drew off tackle - FUMBLES - Curome Cox recovers and the Broncos get a crack at this with 6:09 left in the game.
Cutler's in the shotgun at the four - Henry up the middle for three. Still in the shotgun Cutler gets sacked at the three - short pass to Walker for six leaves them facing fourth and five at the nine. Shanny breaks out the call of the game - it's make it or break it - Broncos are going for it - Cutler to Daniel Graham falls incomplete and for all practical purposes the game is over.
You can't blame Shanny - as bad as the Broncos were playing his hands were tied. From my view - through the first three games of the season, the Broncos would be lucky to grab a wildcard.
Jags blow a golden opportunity - but Carney connects on a chip shot to put the game on ice - 23-14.
It's a two score game and the Broncos a slipping fast. Cutler takes it at the 25 with just over two minutes remaining. Incomplete to Marshall - Cutler hits rookie Selvin Young for 20, moves it out near midfield. Cutler airs it out and guess what …. It gets picked - Jags take control with a buck forty on the clock and take three straight kneels to wind it out - Broncos drop to 2-1 with a 23-14 loss at home.
First Downs: Broncos 11 - Jags 21
Rushing Yards: Broncos 47 - Jags 186
Passing Yards: Broncos 214 - Jags 126
Time of Possession: Broncos 21:18 - Jags 38:42
Rough way to finish at home before you head to Indy to face Peyton Manning and the Colts. Unless Jim Bates and the Broncos defense can figure out a way to stop the run - and stop it quickly - 2007 will be a bust… Maybe it already is.
Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past ten 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 stations around the country.
Schon can be reached at Schon@prostarmediagroup.net
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