Stunned Denver Bronco players were left looking for answers following Sunday’s moral loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, a game in which they were favored by as many as 27 points but won by a shameful margin of just 16.
“It wasn't clean. It wasn't how we would've liked it to go,” tight end Julius Thomas told the Denver Post about the team’s dispiriting win. “We made mistakes that we'll learn from, and we'll clean up. We have to play better."
"There was a lot of bad football out there," Denver wide receiver Wes Welker said of his team’s winning performance. Jacksonville held Denver’s offense to a mere 407 yards and a season-low 35 points, an unacceptable tally that was a full 11 short their 46 point average heading into the game.
With star quarterback Peyton Manning throwing a pick-six to Paul Posluszny just before the end of the first half, some Bronco fans booed their team as they headed off the field at halftime leading, but not thrashing, the Jaguars 14-12.
“Sometimes, you score a lot of points and people take it for granted. Even people in your own building can take it for granted,” Manning said in reference to those who were understandably aghast that their team failed to score at a historic rate for the first time all season.
“It’s not easy to win football games,” he added as a tepid excuse for his subpar, 295-yard, two-touchdown performance.
As befitting a 6-0 team with really no offensive flaws that had just recorded its 17th consecutive regular season win, local columnists ripped the Broncos this morning, with the Denver Post’s Woody Paige writing that the team “failed the nose test” in their win over the Jaguars, a game in which they never trailed.
Still, the Bronco’s harshest criticism seemed to come from the players themselves, a positive sign coming off of a win that no one will even remember in three weeks time, much less at the end of the season.
"Nobody's a cakewalk in this league,” cornerback Champ Bailey said after the game.
We know, Champ. We all saw how the pass defense played.