Denver rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch led the Broncos to a 20-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday at EverBank Field, but defense decided the game.
“A little bit of what we expected,” Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley said. “Really two good showings by two defensive units. I thought our defense came out and played well,”
Jaguars QB Blake Bortles was 19 of 42 for 181 yards while rushing for 29 yards. He scored on a 22-yard run in the final quarter.
The Jacksonville miscues began with the Broncos leading 10-3, Denver’s Von Miller hit Bortles, causing his pass to be picked off by cornerback Bradley Roby, who returned it 51 yards for a touchdown.
The interception was the 11th returned for a score in Bortles’ career, including the third in the past four weeks.
“It wasn’t a great throw,” Bortles said. “I’ll have to look at it again; (it was) probably behind him. It’s kind of what we want, man coverage with A-Rob running across the field with a guy behind him, so you’ve just got to put it in front of him and let him run.”
Broncos’ cornerback Chris Harris picked off a pass in the second quarter and returned it 36 yards.
Denver sealed the game with a fumble recovery by Shane Ray, after Miller forced the ball from Bortles, that set up a 41-yard field goal by Brandon McManus.
Tight end Neal Sterling was the Jaguars’ leading receiver against the Broncos, finishing the game with five receptions for 53 yards, including a long reception of 17 yards.
In the second quarter, Jason Myers converted a 47-yard field goal to give the Jaguars a 3-0 lead.
The Jaguars defense held the Broncos to 206 total net yards while Lynch completed just 12 passes for 104 yards.
The Broncos’ 206 total net yards were the fewest the Jaguars defense has allowed this season and the fewest since holding Baltimore to 146 total net yards in the 2011 season.
With two sacks, the Jaguars defense held the Broncos to 102 net passing yards. Linebacker Telvin Smith and defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks each recorded a sack. Smith was tied with linebacker Paul Posluszny with a team-leading with six tackles.
For Lynch, making his second career start in place of injured regular QB Trevor Siemian, it was a homecoming of sorts.
“It was exciting to come back in front of my family and friends, too, with them being able to watch me start in the NFL,” said Lynch, who grew up in Central Florida. “I played with most of them growing up, too. It was a special moment to go out there and get my first win as a starter.”
The Jaguars have lost seven in row and host Minnesota Sunday.
“We talked in the locker room about total team effort though,” Bradley said. “They got three turnovers on the defensive side and we didn’t get any. We had a couple drives where we were driving and then one of the interceptions took place. They made more plays than us and the turnovers were a big key.”
Game notes: Lynch attended high school at Trinity Christian Academy in Deltona, Florida, which is less than two hours south of Jacksonville… Denver finished with just 206 yards – the fewest allowed by the Jaguars under Bradley…wide receiver Shane Wynn made his NFL debut against Denver. Wynn had two rushes for five yards… running back Chris Ivory, receiver Allen Hurns and tight end Julius Thomas – were out due to injury… the Broncos finished the game 1-for-13 on third down.