Broncos wrestle with Jaguars, expectations

October, 13, 2013
10/13/13
9:20
PM ET
DENVER -- For the most part the Denver Broncos have been able to cocoon themselves in their south suburban practice complex, tucked away in their day-to-day efforts, to avoid the swirl of mile high expectations that surround the team.

And as they blitzed through the season’s first five weeks with one 40-plus point game after another, a total that included two 50-point efforts, it was easy for them to keep all the Super-Bowl-or-bust chatter at arm's length for the most part, one of those quirky things people like to talk about. But in what turned into a 35-19 victory against the still-winless Jacksonville Jaguars, the Broncos were booed by many on hand as they jogged into the locker room with a 14-12 halftime lead and following their sixth win of the season the Broncos bristled some at the what-happened theme of the questions that awaited them.

"It definitely wasn’t a cakewalk," Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said. " … Look, I am not surprised how [the Jaguars] played, not at all. I tried to tell people all week, you can’t think you’re just going to jump on people all the time. You could see on the film they played hard, whether they won or not, they played hard. Nobody is a cakewalk in this league, nobody, and when everybody starts thinking any of this easy, that’s just not right. You have still go out and play every week because everybody has some players who can beat you. That's how it is. We got the win, we move on."

The Jaguars had scored just five touchdowns this season coming into the game and scored just once on offense against the Broncos. But the Broncos had three turnovers, two on dropped snaps from Peyton Manning to go with a Manning interception returned 59 yards for a touchdown by Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny. Until the Broncos turnd a fake punt into a 35-yard run by David Bruton late in the third quarter that seemed to shake them from their doldrums a bit -- the Broncos scored to close out that possession and their next one as well -- a horrific upset had loomed.

"I've heard people tell me it looks easy," is how Broncos coach John Fox put it. "There is nothing about it that’s easy, it’s all hard. I'm just pleased we’re sitting here 6-0 … You know there is resistance out there, it's called the other team."

"Football’s hard," Manning said. " … You score a lot of points and people take it for granted, I think even people in your own building maybe take it for granted. It's not easy to win football games. I learned long ago never to take winning for granted."

In the end, the Broncos, who entered the game as one of the biggest favorites in league history in the eyes of those who set betting lines, are still one of two undefeated teams in the league and have scored a league-leading 265 points, which is a record pace of 44.2 points per game.

Asked to rate the day, particularly on offense, running back Knowshon Moreno said: "Like a C. C is a good enough, it was good enough today, but it won’t be good enough to win games down the road. [The Jaguars] played a really hard game all day and we made a lot of mistakes. Still a lot we have to fix."

"We appreciated this win," Manning said. "I think we have handled it pretty well."

Jeff Legwold

ESPN Denver Broncos reporter

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