Jacksonville started off as advertised, with a quick three-and-out on offense. Oddly, they went for a fake punt on fourth down, and gave Denver the ball on the 27-yard line (if you want to go for it, just go for it).
The Broncos overcame a bit of early sloppiness to go up 7-0 on a three-yard pass from Peyton Manning to Julius Thomas, who now has seven touchdowns on the season. Thanks to a holding penalty on Chris Clark, Knowshon Moreno gained 34 yards on three touches on the 27-yard drive, including a 28-yard catch-and-run to convert a 3rd-and-20.
Denver's next possession started at their own five-yard line and stalled after seven plays, but a personal foul by Jacksonville's Andre Branch extended the drive. Five snaps later, Manning hit Wes Welker for a 20-yard score - Manning's 22nd, and Welker's eighth. In total, the Broncos had gone 95 yards in 12 plays to go ahead 14-0.
The Jags responded with three first downs and 48 yards, but strangely settled for a 50-yard field goal from Josh Scobee. In a game where they were apparently desperate enough to fake punts, they were willing to trade field goals for touchdowns.
In a newsworthy development, Jacksonville forced Denver into an incredibly rare three-and-out, but then puzzlingly passed up a 4th-and-2 from their own 43 on the ensuing possession.
Six plays later, though, Denver turned it over at its own 40-yard line on a bad exchange between Manny Ramirez and Manning.
The Jags advanced as far as first-and-goal from the four, but ultimately settled for a 30-yarder by Scobee to pull within 14-6.
And yet, they backed that up by forcing Manning & Co. into another three-and-out.
But again, Jacksonville made the curious choice to pass up a 4th-and-2 opportunity, and a poor snap torpedoed their would-be 46-yard FG attempt.
Another huge Denver mistake came in the form of an atrocious throw by Manning toward Welker, which Paul Posluszny took back 59 yards, bringing the Jags to within 14-12. The two-point attempt was picked off by Champ Bailey, but Jacksonville had already pulled off a huge upset in the form of a two-point halftime deficit.
Order was temporarily restored shortly thereafter, as Denver typically took the second-half kickoff and marched 80 yards in eight plays, with Knowshon punching it in from the one. Aided by three Jaguars penalties and a recovery of a Ronnie Hillman fumble, Denver pulled ahead by 21-12.
Impressively, Jacksonville responded with an 80-yard scoring drive of its own, including a five-yard touchdown run by Maurice Jones-Drew. The extra point brought the Jags to within 21-19.
The Broncos came right back in the unlikely shootout, with another eight-play, 80-yard drive, this one also capped by Moreno, on a punishing eight-yard run that made the score 28-19.
Malik Jackson took it upon himself to stop Denver's defensive hemorrhage on the next series, with two sacks of Chad Henne and a one-yard tackle-for-loss of MJD setting the Jags back 13 yards in three plays.
Jacksonville forced Manning & Co. into another apparent three-and-out, but Denver ran David Bruton for 35 yards on a direct snap fake punt on 4th and 2.
They were soon poised to expand their lead, but another poor snap from Manny Ramirez, this time from the four-yard line, gave the Jags the ball at their own six.
But just five plays later, Shaun Phillips altered a Henne throw, which playmaker Kayvon Webster nabbed for his first NFL interception and returned to the Jacksonville 41.
Moreno had his third touchdown of the day soon thereafter - a three-yarder - as Manning was able to corral another poor snap from Ramirez. It was the first three-touchdown game of his NFL career, and gave him seven on the season. While that matched his career high for rushing scores, set in his rookie 2009 season, Moreno needs two more to match his season high for total touchdowns, also set that year.
The game Jags were not intimidated by the 35-19 deficit, though, and made it all the way down to the Denver 11 before turning the ball over on downs with 4:01 remaining.
Three minutes later, Danny Trevathan made his second uberathletic interception in as many weeks, and the Broncos had improved to 6-0 on the season.
Tomorrow, they'll get Von Miller back from suspension, and not a minute too early - next week, they travel to Indy for Peyton's homecoming and a showdown with Andrew Luck's formidable Colts. Indy (4-1) plays at San Diego (2-3) tomorrow night.
- Manning had only two turnovers through five games, but was charged with three on Sunday - the one interception for a pick-six, and two fumbles on poor snaps by Ramirez
- Peyton is now on pace to throw for 59 touchdown passes and 5,811 yards
- Moreno totaled 104 yards on 22 touches, his fourth time over 90 yards from scrimmmage this year
- Britton Colquitt's three punts matched his total from the prior three games, and here's where we note that Denver just gave him a lucrative contract extension
- Chris Harris led all defenders with 11 total tackles; no other player had more than eight
- Malik Jackson now has 3.5 sacks on the season; he was credited with seven total tackles, including three for loss, plus two QB hits and a pass defensed
- Denver only outgained Jacksonville 407 to 362, and none of those were empty yards
- Videos: Game highlights from BTV and NFLN; Highlights of Peyton Manning's day; John Fox, Peyton Manning, and several others speak afterward
- Mike Klis, Jeff Legwold, Eddie Pells, and Ryan O'Halloran recap the game
- According to John Fox, Orlando Franklin's injury is to his knee, while Sly Williams suffered a neck injury. Franklin apparently left SAF@MH on crutches and will have an MRI tomorrow.