Remember Week 2 when Jay Cutler fumbled a ball against the Chargers, except the referee, Ed Hochuli, screwed the pooch and said it wasn't a fumble? And remember how that call allowed the Broncos to win a game they should have lost? Well, karma reared its head in Denver this afternoon and another botched call allowed the Jaguars to win a game they couldn't afford to lose.
Sorta. When the flag flew on Marlon McCree for interfering with Jags receiver Greg Estandia in the fourth quarter, it allowed Jacksonville to run out the clock and secure the victory. McCree never touched Estandia and Dre' Bly was also the victim of a questionable flag earlier in the contest but it doesn't change the fact that the Broncos did more than enough to lose the game all by themselves.
David Garrard, averaging just 175 yards a game through the air entering play on Sunday, threw for 276 yards and a touchdown. Maurice Jones-Drew, 35 yards per game, had 125 yards and broke a 46-yard touchdown run that illustrated the issues the Broncos still have stopping the run this season. The defense gave up two other first downs on that final drive to help kill the game so the bad call, while convenient, doesn't excuse a poor afternoon's work by the Bronco defenders.
The Jags may well have saved their season with today's strong performance. At 3-3, they are still in striking distance of the Titans and just behind the Colts. They're also still above water in the Wild Card hunt so give them credit for their best offensive performance of the season when they needed it most. Give credit to the defense as well for forcing three turnovers but the Broncos helped out a lot. They dropped passes, failed to get first downs and, generally, showed no signs of the offense that scorched the earth during a 3-0 start.
To recover that potency the Broncos need to get healthy -- Eddie Royal and Tony Scheffler didn't play and Brandon Stokely left with an injury -- and play a lot less sloppy. The defense probably won't ever be good enough to carry the squad so the offense needs to get back on track or the Broncos will be headed back to the murky .500 zone they inhabited last season.