The Denver Broncos 21-17 win in Sunday’s early morning action against the Jacksonville Jaguars was a tale of two halves both on offense and defense. How did the Broncos’ offense find rhythm in the late fourth quarter, and which one of George Paton’s free-agent signings sealed the victory for Denver?

Denver Broncos find momentum heading into bye week

Russell Wilson returned under center in Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars after missing last week’s showdown with the New York Jets. Things got off to a rough start. Wilson’s first pass attempt of the game was nearly intercepted on an inside throw to Courtland Sutton followed up by getting sacked on 3rd down for a quick three and out to start the game.

Things didn’t get any better on Denver’s second series as Wilson threw an interception directly to Jaguars cornerback Tyson Campbell who was sitting underneath Sutton on a vertical route playing Cover 2.

Denver’s top-five defense had a lot to play for as they tuned out the rumblings of trade rumors involving defensive captain Bradley Chubb. No Baron Browning for the Broncos led to Jonathon Cooper getting the start opposite Chubb. Rookie edge rusher Nik Bonitto would also get involved in the action. Denver forced the Jaguars to punt on their first possession but surrendered a touchdown to Jaguars tight end Evan Engram on their second possession after a Russell Wilson interception backed Denver’s defense up near the red zone.

It’s clear as day that the Broncos’ offense is the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result each time. After the Wilson interception and Jaguars score, Denver punted the ball away after back-to-back penalties on Eric Tomlinson (holding) and a false start on Lloyd Cushenberry pushed Denver backward, all leading to a Corliss Waitman punt. Heard this story before?

Denver’s defense struggled on early downs in the first half of Sunday’s game giving up chunk plays and allowing nearly 5.2 yards per play in the first half, which led to various third and short situations. On top of that, the Broncos’ defense was flagged four times on one drive with cornerback K’Waun Williams being flagged for blocking below the waist and safety Justin Simmons receiving a flag for taunting, despite mutual jawing from Jaguars running back JaMychal Hasty. Patrick Surtain and Simmons were both called for defensive holding and pass interference that gave Jacksonville a prime position inside the five-yard line. Lawrence attempted to sprint out and find a receiver in the endzone but Simmons snagged a laser from him, allowing Denver’s defense to force a turnover, but once again the offense couldn’t do anything about it.

From an operations standpoint, it was an ugly first half penalty-wise for the Broncos who were already one of the NFL’s most penalized teams. In the first half alone, Denver was flagged 10 total times for 71 yards including a delay of game penalty on a kickoff, and finished the game with 12 total penalties.

Trailing 10-0 with 8:53 remaining in the 2nd quarter, Denver’s first, first down of the game came from Wilson connecting with Sutton on a 14-yard completion up the seam. Prior to that play, Denver had 30 total yards of offense. Several plays after the Sutton catch, facing a 4th and 1, the Broncos converted after a Wilson QB-sneak, hoping to generate some momentum before halftime. Good things happen when Denver targets Jerry Jeudy across the middle of the field as Wilson connected with him for a 25-yard gain, giving Denver an opportunity inside of the red zone. Several plays later, Jeudy took a jet motion to the house for a six-yard touchdown to cut Denver’s deficit to 10-7 going into halftime.

In the first half, the Broncos’ offense was 1-of-6 on third down and finished the half with 141 yards of offense despite only having 30 total yards around the eight-minute mark of the second quarter. After starting 0-for-2, Russell Wilson found rhythm near the end of the 1st half finishing 12/19 passing for 117 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.

Could Wilson and the offense build off of some of the momentum they built in the first half, going into the third quarter?

The Broncos’ offense would have their backs against the wall on their own two-yard line after the defense forced the Jaguars to punt the football two plays after second-round rookie draft pick Nik Bonitto strip-sacked Trevor Lawrence, but Jacksonville recovered.

98 yards to drive? It seemingly didn’t matter for the Broncos’ offense who marched down the field led by three big catches by rookie tight end Greg Dulcich who marched them downfield, accounting for 78 yards. Melvin Gordon capped off Denver’s nine-play 98-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run to give them a 14-10 lead.

Entering the fourth quarter with a lead, the old third-quarter offense arrived late for Denver. The Broncos punted away their first two possessions of the fourth quarter. Once again, Denver’s defense provided them with another opportunity to possess the football. Dre’Mont Jones came through the line of scrimmage, sacking Lawrence and forcing the Jaguars to punt away.

The third time is the charm, right? Not this time, folks. Denver went three and out and Jacksonville took advantage with more chunk plays, capped off by a Travis Etienne rushing touchdown that gave the Jaguars a 17-14 lead with 3:54 remaining in the fourth quarter.

First play after trailing, Russell Wilson dialed up a deep shot down the right sideline to KJ Hamler who hauled in a 49-yard catch, immediately putting Denver into field goal range. Seconds before the two-minute warning, Wilson scrambled for a 10-yard gain on 3rd and 5 to give Denver a first down. On the menu, Hamler once again made a big play on an end-around play that gave them life in the red zone. Denver would take a 21-17 lead after back-to-back runs by Latavius Murray including a two-yard rushing touchdown.

With 1:43 remaining in the game, could the Broncos’ defense avoid giving up a touchdown? It would be up to them to seal the game for Denver. On Jacksonville’s first play, Lawrence looked to target Christian Kirk on an out route but K’Waun Williams got in position and intercepted the pass.

Using their timeouts, the Jaguars held Denver to a 4th and 1. Nathaniel Hackett called a timeout and the Broncos went for it, with Wilson picking up a first down on a QB sneak and sealing the victory for the Broncos.

Denver’s offense finished the game with 331 total yards of offense after its sluggish first-half start, but they found a way to win late which serves as a promising sign as the team heads into the bye week at 3-5.

The NFL trade deadline looms largely on November 1st, prompting questions as to whether or not Denver will make any moves, especially considering them picking up a much-needed win.

Stay tuned at for continuous coverage of all things Denver Broncos.

Broncos news and notes vs. Jaguars

Broncos inactives vs. Jaguars.
Wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland was inactive with a groin injury.
Cornerback Essang Bassey was listed as inactive with a hamstring injury.
Newly acquired running back Marlon Mack was a healthy scratch on Sunday.
Outside linebacker Baron Browning was inactive due to a hip injury.
Offensive tackle Cam Fleming missed Sunday’s game with a quad injury.
Tight end Albert Okwuegbunam missed Sunday’s game as a healthy scratch for the third straight game.
Defensive lineman Eyioma Uwazurike was a healthy scratch for Sunday’s game.

Broncos undrafted rookie dresses for first career game.
Denver Broncos undrafted rookie wide receiver Jalen Virgil dressed for his first career NFL regular season game.

Trade rumblings.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Sunday NFL Countdown prior to kickoff that the Broncos were ‘unlikely’ to trade or move wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler unless they received a significant offer. Regarding outside linebacker Bradley Chubb, Schefter reported that Denver has already received a trade offer from a team that includes a first-round pick and additional compensation. It was noted that if Denver does not trade Chubb, they will look to extend him long-term. November 1st’s deadline is going to be very interesting.

Injury Report.
Late in the second quarter, Broncos center Lloyd Cushenberry went down with a hip injury and did not return. Veteran lineman Graham Glasgow filled in for him in the second half.

Record-setting attendance.
Sunday’s game at Wembley Stadium set an NFL International Series record with a jam-packed crowd of 86,215 fans in attendance.