The Broncos weren’t making any excuses Monday after the team’s 24-17 loss to the Jaguars. Some might have blamed the weather, others could have noted that key players were out of the lineup and others still might have argued that a controversial late call could have cost them the game.
But Denver didn’t do any of that, the team knows this loss is on them, and it is up to them to get better and correct mistakes.
“I think it was all on us,” wide receiver Glenn Martinez said. “It is not like the Jaguars went out there and out performed us. We had some key turnovers here and there. We just keep beating ourselves. The good thing about that is we can correct that.”
At times during Sunday’s loss both the Broncos offense and defense looked as though they were controlling the game, but they didn’t sustain that high level of play throughout. Head Coach Mike Shanahan said his team needs to play that well the entire game.
“We are making strides,” he said of the defense. “I think you saw it in that first quarter when we had a fumble recovery and the next two possessions we played extremely well. In the fourth quarter I think we had three series (allowing) maybe 25 yards and three punts. Then all of a sudden they control the clock for the last six minutes. We have to get better. We have to improve, and we will keep on working at it. We played in segments like the first quarter and parts of the fourth quarter, and we just have to build on it.”
The offense was able put up some extended drives against Jacksonville but just couldn’t convert on all its scoring opportunities. Two of Denver’s three turnovers came inside the Jacksonville 10-yard line.
Martinez said if the team doesn’t get discouraged and continues to follow the offensive script, the points will come.
“We have been driving the ball well the last couple of games. We just haven’t been putting up touchdowns. That will come in time. If we keep working hard and keep executing the game plan – we’ve had one guy here or there miss an assignment, miss a block, a receiver drops a ball – that hurts us. It is something that we can fine tune and get corrected for this week coming up.”
The Broncos’ next opponent is the 3-2 Patriots, fresh off their 30-10 loss at the hands of the Chargers.
The team hopes to have Selvin Young, Eddie Royal and Tony Scheffler back in uniform next week for their matchup on Monday Night Football, but if they are unable to suit up, a positive the Broncos can take away from the Jacksonville game is that their backups know how to make plays.
Michael Pittman had 109 rushing yards on 20 attempts filling in for Young. Brandon Stokley had a touchdown reception seeing more time with Royal being out. Daniel Graham caught a touchdown pass, getting more looks at the tight end position with the absence of Scheffler.
Martinez, who had 47 punt return yards filling in for Royal on Sunday, said that Denver is a team full of players ready to step up when their number is called.
“We have depth at every position,” he said. “I feel, and these guys feel, that if somebody goes down their backup can step up and make plays just as the starter does. We just prepare every week, us backups, as if we are going to start — just in case we do get that call.”
The Broncos have another test coming up against New England, and after the team’s loss on Sunday, the team knows that in the National Football League there is little room for error.
“We can see what we are made of,” he said. “After losing a game like that — a tough game that we know we should have won — we can really see what our character is. Coming in this week, we can see how we prepare this week and how serious we take this game coming up against New England Monday night. Hopefully guys step up to the plate. Come out there, prepare well and make plays.”
-Jake Grilley, DenverBroncos.com