The Denver Broncos handled their business, bringing home a 20-10 win from Jacksonville, despite a rocky performance from rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch and the Broncos offense. With the win, Denver is now back in the AFC playoff picture with five games remaining thanks to a Miami Dolphins loss.

Denver led 10-3 at halftime after a lackluster offensive performance by both sides, and the suffocating Broncos defense continued its dominance in the second half, spurred by a Bradley Roby pick-six on Jacksonville’s first possession of the half. The 51-yd INT-TD was the Broncos’ third this year, tying for the most in the NFL.

The Broncos didn’t take their first penalty of the game until there was 1:55 remaining in the third quarter. That penalty allowed Blake Bortles to run for a first down on the next play and their second penalty – a holding call on Aqib Talib – gave Jacksonville a pulse. The Denver defense was caught spread too thin on a fourth-and-five from their 22-yard line and Bortles scrambled for a touchdown.

Lynch and the Broncos offense punted after just five plays on their next drive, but Jacksonville couldn’t recreate that fourth-down magic on their ensuing possession and gave the ball back again. The offensive woes continued for Denver when they went three-and-out and Lynch badly missed an open Emmanuel Sanders on third down.

The Denver defense was again asked to carry the load, spending 34:34 on the field and having to defend 81 total plays on the day. The defense forced two turnovers and four punts on the Jacksonville side of the 50 in the second half. Meanwhile, Denver punted a jaw-dropping 11 times in the game. Denver was just 1-for-13 on third down. They produced only 10 first downs and couldn’t get the most important one of the game.

Denver took over possession with 2:08 remaining in the game and needed just one first down to ice the game. Lynch and the offense produced another three-and-out, capping a brutal second half in which they punted on six of seven drives.

The only drive of the second half to produce any offense for Denver came on the heels of a Von Miller strip sack on that delivered the ball to the offense on the Jaguars 29-yard line. Brandon McManus kicked a 41-yard field goal to cap the scoring in the game.

Lynch finished the day 12-of-24 for 102 yards. Most importantly, he did not surrender a turnover. Those three Jacksonville turnovers turned out to be the difference in the game.

Lynch and the Broncos walked away winners, but the game did little to instill confidence in the rookie’s ability to carry the load should Trevor Siemian be unable to play next week in Tennessee. Siemian was out of his walking boot but inactive in Jacksonville and all signs point to his return next week.

A win is a win, though, and Denver remains in the playoff hunt heading into the final four weeks of the season.

Here’s what the MHS team and some of our favorite follows in the Denver media had to say about how the second half unfolded in Jacksonville…