Here's the inactives for Denver – WR Eddie Royal, RB Selvin Young, S Vernon Fox, RB Ryan Torain, T Erik Pears, TE Tony Scheffler, DE Ebenezer Ekuban and DT Josh Shaw.
We're about 10 min. away from kickoff, it's cold, it's overcast and I'm working up the courage to try a sampler. This could get painful…Don't forget to refresh for all the latest madness - lets kick it.
Sometimes it just all falls into place. JC to Brandon M., JC to Brandon S., Pittman up the middle and before you know it Denver grabs a early 7-0 lead. Ten plays, 80-yards and the beers flowing now. Perfect strike to Stokley for the score, something tells me they've practiced that one before.
Jacksonville's on the clock...
Fairly decent drive – Garrard's got them moving close to midfield. Quick toss to Fred Taylor and the rock is stripped by Nate Webster – Broncos ball at the Jags 43.
Short lived success – Cutler coughs it up on a scramble and Garrard gets another shot.
Nothing really spectacular, but they keep it moving. Nice mix of short passes and solid runs – drive stalls out at the Broncos 30 and Josh Scobee lights the board with a 48-yard field goal. Gotta love the thin air. Jags cut the lead 7-3 and it's Take Two for JC and Co.
Remember what I said about it all falling into place – I take it all back. Broncos shoot themselves in the foot with a holding penalty on a nice Michael Pitman run and two plays later Cutler airs it out and gets his first pick. Not really much action on either side -Quarter comes to a close with the Broncos cheerleaders firing it up to Pink's new one "I Wanna Start a Fight" – that was semi-cool.
Jags drive pretty much goes nowhere and Podlesh punts it to the Broncos 36 –I'm not sure, but it might be a good idea for Denver to try and get something going. Where's this high-powered offense we've all grown to love?
Here we go – Cutler hits Stokley on a nice 14-yarder. Pittman tacks on 11 on the ground and a quick shot to Marshall draws some noise. Broncos are inside the twenty – Cutler to Marshall who dances down to the 7 and promptly fumbles the ball. Back to the drawing board – turnovers can kill you.
The Jags are back in business boys and girls. Garrard's rolling steady, a little here - a little there and the chains keep moving. Twelve plays, 75-yards later and the Broncos lead is now history – a little over three minutes left in the half. By the way, I think I ruptured my spleen.
I don't know what it is, but ever since that first drive, everything else is out of sorts. The run, the pass, the weather… Broncos move it to the Jags 39 and on fourth and one, Pittman heads it up the middle – No gain – Jacksonville takes it on downs with a little over a buck left on the clock. When your "O" line can't get you one in crunch time – you know you've got some issues. Now it's Garrard's turn at clock management. This could turn ugly...
Not bad – Jags advance it to the Broncos 27 before Garrard drops it – isn't that like the thirtieth turnover today? Broncos get a shot with less than thirty remaining… ok, so it really isn't much of a shot – and Shanny isn't willing to gamble. With four seconds left Brett Kern punts it back to Jacksonville. Not a real pleasant way to end the half if you're a Broncos fan. Time to take another gamble on the buffet line – what have I got to loose?
OUCH… that's a nice reality slap - three plays, 80-yards and Jacksonville's busting it open. Beautiful 46-yard touchdown run by Maurice Jones-Drew. Broncos "D" got completely dusted in the span of about two minutes. Scoreboard – Jags 17- 7 over the Broncos with a little over thirteen minutes left in the quarter.
Cutler's got to get it going before this thing gets out of hand. They're setting up shop at the twenty. Pittman off tackle for a few and a nice little 9-yarder to Martinez moves it out to the 34. Cutler dances his way to the 45 – Pittman adds another 20 and the Broncos are starting to gain a little momentum at the Jags 26. Quick toss to Darrell Jackson and the Broncos are staring at third and five at the twenty-one. In-com-plete to Martinez and it's Matt Prater to the rescue – better than nothing, Broncos trail it by 7.
Maybe I should just start cutting and pasting whenever the Jags have the ball. Nine plays, 79-yards and they're lighting it up again. Jags head coach Jack Del Rio has it figured out – the Broncos can't cover, they can't tackle and they can't catch MJD. This is eerily similar to last year's embarrassment – and we're only winding it down in the third. Quarter comes to a deathly quiet close with Jacksonville standing on top 24-10.
This is about the time you start wishing for one of two things: your team actually does get it together and puts some points on the board, or the clock starts to run just a little bit faster so you can get the whole thing over with. Broncos continue their drive from the previous quarter but stall it out just short of midfield. Kern's getting a workout today – punts hits the end zone for a touchback. I'm scared to see what Garrard's got planned now.
Believe it or not – no cut and paste required. Jags can't advance past their own 40, Podlesh sails it to the Broncos 28. Not that it really matters – Denver goes three and out and it's the Brett Kern Show again. Not to be outdone, the Jags have their turn at three and out and thanks to a sweet 27-yard return by Glen Martinez, Denver gets another shot from the Jacksonville 37.
Remember the getting it together part? We're getting closer. Cutler hits Marshall for 21-yards and then hits Daniel Graham for 11 and the score. Lead is cut to seven and there may actually be signs of life in the stands.
Maybe they don't realize it, but there's a catch… if you want the offense to come back out and tie it up – the defense has to stop the other guys. Right now the Broncos just aren't getting it done. The clock's working its way toward the two minute warning, Shanny's burned all his time outs and they're sitting at the Broncos 10.
David Garrard takes a knee. Welcome to 4-2, count your blessings.
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