One KJ Hamler reception for 47 yards, one K’Waun Williams interception, and one Latavius Murray score may be sufficient to alter the season’s outcome.
The Broncos emphasized all week — and for weeks prior — the need to make a game-changing play and to perform well in the most crucial situations.
On Sunday against the Jaguars, the Broncos made plays that they had often failed to make this season.
“It was monumental,” remarked Justin Simmons of the 21-17 victory. “As we near the halfway point of the season, we will receive the return of a number of injured players during our bye week, which will be a tremendous boost. Everyone talks about how victories generate momentum, and this was a crucial one coming into the bye week. We discussed how this is a must-win for us, and we achieved victory. For us to move forward, we must build on this.”
On Sunday, there were numerous instances of the game-changing plays the Broncos had been seeking.
Simmons made a goal-line interception in the second quarter as Trevor Lawrence rolled to his right and delivered a poor pass. Instead of being down 14-0, the Broncos trailed by only a touchdown.
On third-and-7, Jerry Jeudy worked across the field to catch a 25-yard throw, which set up his jet-sweep touchdown on the very next play.
Greg Dulcich recorded 78 yards in a single series on the Broncos’ first drive of the third quarter, as Denver drove 98 yards and took the lead for the first time.
With 3:54 remaining and behind by three points, the Broncos made several more crucial plays. Russell Wilson threw a 47-yard pass to Hamler that brought the Broncos close to field-goal range.
“We wanted to give KJ an opportunity for a go-ball to that side,” Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett explained. “We got the look we needed, and he executed it perfectly.” This is exactly what we’re searching for: the ability to seize opportunities when they arise.
Then, on third-and-5, Wilson scrambled for 10 yards, which finally resulted to the game-winning touchdown.
Wilson laughed, “I did high knees on third down.”
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Williams’ interception ultimately sealed the victory, but the Broncos continued to make the type of plays that victors must make until the very end. On fourth-and-1 with 36 seconds remaining, the Broncos declined to kick a field goal that would have extended their lead to seven points. Wilson instead charged forward for the game-winning first downs.
Victory of Broncos
Following the victory, which improved the Broncos’ record to 3-5 heading into the bye week, Denver hopes to retain its momentum. On November 13, when the Broncos go to Nashville to play the Titans, it will be evident whether this is achievable.
Sunday’s contest did, however, serve as a model for the Broncos. They maintained patience with the running game, gaining over 100 yards on the ground. In the red zone, they were effective, scoring touchdowns on all three possessions. And they were able to overcome a 10-0 deficit and a Wilson interception, potentially saving the season.
“The first quarter was off to a blazing start,” Hackett observed sarcastically. “We start with a three-and-out then throw an interception on the second play. Again, this is a result of individuals wanting to make things happen rather than operating and not attempting to do too much.
“I encouraged Russell to take a breath, breathe, and continue doing what he does. After observing the modifications Jacksonville made, I believe we were able to create effective plays for him as we transitioned into what we wanted to do in this game.
It’s a long football game, and with a quality defense like we have, you’re always going to be in the game, and I believe he realizes that.
It is somewhat evident that a team must make crucial plays in order to win. In four losses by a single possession, however, the Broncos failed to do it when it mattered. After their victory at Wembley Stadium, they may have found their way. All that remains is to repeat the action.
Wilson stated, “I believe we’ve been in every single game.” “This season might be completely reversed, and the only way to accomplish this is to do it ourselves. We must continue to answer the bell.”