It was the classic tale of two halves as the Broncos fell to 0-4 on the year after jumping out to a 17-3 lead early on the Jacksonville Jaguars. That giant lead came before giving up 20 unanswered points to Jacksonville.

Joe Flacco looked sharp most of the first half, throwing for 197 yards and two touchdowns before throwing a pivotal interceptions right before halftime that led to all of the momentum going to the Jaguars.

Finally, Von Miller got the first sack for this Denver defense but they also gave up 200 second-half rushing yards. Fans were probably feeling déjà vu all over again at home as there was yet another Joe Flacco potential game-winning drive, another roughing the passer penalty, and another game-winning field goal kick kept Vic Fangio from getting his first career win.

Let’s dive into the three takeaways in yet another heartbreaking Broncos 26-24 loss to the Jacksonville.

1. Denver’s sacks didn’t solve all of the Broncos problems

All week the narrative around this defense is that they haven’t gotten a sack or a turnover after three games.

Von Miller followed that historic stat with a 13-second press conference and then with an impressive day with two sacks in the first half alone. Bradley Chubb also got involved in the sack party with one of his own in the second quarter. Overall, the defense capitalized taking on a rookie quarterback in Gardner Minshew on the road by putting him under duress all game. Fangio’s unit stymied Jacksonville’s offense by holding them to 115 total yards in the first half and 0-7 on third-down conversions.

However, the narrative quickly changed in the second half as Jacksonville stayed on the field for nearly 25 minutes. That led to the Broncos being completely gashed by Fournette to the tune of 200-plus rushing yards in the second half.

Minshew, who looked completely overwhelmed in the first half, started showing that moxie and “it” factor throwing two second-half touchdowns. Finally, when the defense needed to step up on the final drive of the game after a go-ahead TD from Flacco to Courtland Sutton put the Broncos back in the lead, they followed it with another roughing the passer penalty that continued the drive and led to the game-winning field goal for Jacksonville. Yes, the Broncos racked up five sacks, but the lack of depth to this team and not being able to make a play when the game is on the line continues to kill their hopes of winning football games.

2. The offense must keep their foot on the gas

The 2019 campaign under Flacco has been one of mystery as the Broncos are top-5 in the NFL in plays run, but bottom-5 in the NFL in points scored.

Whether it’s turnovers, poor offensive line play leading to sacks or penalties, or just inefficiency in the red zone, this offense seems to hurt themselves in new ways every week.

Finally, it seems like they’ve turned the corner this game against a good Jacksonville defense, albeit without All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

On a Jaguars defense that has only allowed 20 points through the past two games, Flacco carved up the secondary for 197 yards and two TDs in the first half. Great play calling was shown throughout the first half of the game by Rich Scangarello. After half time, the offense only had run a total of 10 plays of offense before their go-ahead drive, leaving the defense out there for far too long.

In the second half, Denver began both drives with run, pass, and pass and were very predictable giving Jacksonville a chance to get back into the ballgame. Although they put up their highest point total all year, the Broncos aren’t explosive enough offensively to take their foot off the pedal at any point of the game. In order to lead a game coast to coast, aggressive play-calling must be called throughout the game to keep leads.

 3. The offensive line gave up zero sacks

There were numerous negatives to point out in the loss, but the one positive takeaway is that the offensive line gave up zero sacks in the loss. Flacco did have to throw the ball away on several occasions, threw an intentional grounding as well, but the offense was only called for one holding penalty for the game and it was on tight end Noah Fant. In a season where a lot of the blame for losses has been the lack of sacks by the defense and a lack of protection and discipline by the offensive line, neither were the case. This isn’t a bad team but they’re not a very good team either. Let’s break down the excuses for why this team can’t get a win this year.

  • Joe Flacco isn’t going to win games: Joe Flacco throws 300 yards passing and 3 TDs.
  • Sanders/Sutton/Fant aren’t involved enough: Emmanuel Sanders has 100 yards receiving, Sutton catches 2 TDs, and Fant caught a TD.
  • The offensive line is terrible, they constantly hold and give up sacks: the offensive line gives up zero sacks, and a tight end was called for a hold once. T
  • The defense hasn’t recorded a sack: The defense gets five sacks, and Miller recorded two and Chubb had one.

Yes, the running game was a non-factor in the second half and the defense still haven’t forced a turnover, but this was a game where both the offense and defense checked a lot of those excuses off their checklist.

If the Broncos still can’t get a win while accomplishing all of that, then it may be time to face the music that this team might not do much of anything this season. It’s time to face the rebuild and embrace it, with the fan base, the team, and the front office.