KUSA - Certainly after taking a 14-0 lead in their first two drives Sunday, the Denver Broncos seemed to be rolling like they should against an opponent that was heavily outmatched.
But for the first time this season, Denver went four consecutive possessions without a score and gave the winless Jacksonville Jaguars a ray of hope.
That ray lasted into the fourth quarter, but finally was snuffed out by Knowshon Moreno's third touchdown run of the second half as Denver rolled to a 35 -19 win at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was responsible for three turnovers as the Denver offense didn't look sharp, and Jacksonville turned them into 10 points. The upstart Jaguars had a chance to tie Sunday's game just before halftime, yes, halftime.
"I've heard people tell me it looks easy - there is nothing about it that's easy. It's all hard," Broncos coach John Fox said. " I'm just pleased that we're sitting here 6-0 and getting two games away from the bye week. All of our focus is on Indianapolis coming up soon."
After linebacker Paul Posluszny's 59-yard interception return to pull within 14-12, the Jaguars went for the two-point conversion but Chad Henne was intercepted in the back of the end zone by Champ Bailey.
"Jacksonville did a lot of good things on film and did a lot of good things today," Manning said. "They played hard and created problems."
Besides the interception, Manning fumbled two snaps (one from under center the other in the shotgun formation). The first fumble lead to Josh Scobbe's 30-yard field goal in the second quarter. He made a 50-yarder earlier in the second quarter. Jacksonville outgained Denver 175-165 in total yards in the first half.
"I wasn't as sharp on a couple of decisions," said Manning, who added it left the center too early on the first fumble. "It's not easy to win football games. We appreciate this win. ... Some Sundays you're a little sharper than others."
The touchdown drive to open the second half allowed the Broncos to regain momentum, but it cost them on the already-depleted offensive line. Right tackle Orlando Franklin injured his left knee and had to be helped off the field after Moreno scored on the 1-yard run to take a 21-12 lead.
Franklin did not return to the game. After the game, Fox said he did not have an update on the severity of Franklin's knee injury.
But Henne and receiver Justin Blackmon weren't finished. The two lead another scoring drive as the Jaguars pulled within 21-19 on Maurice Jones-Drew's 5-yard run. The Henne-Blackmon connection accounted for 47 yards on the 80-yard drive.
However, Moreno picked up his second TD of the quarter on the ensuing drive, bulling his way for the 8-yard score and a 28-19 lead. Then came Moreno's 3-yard score for a 35-19 with nine minutes left in the game to secure Denver's 17 consecutive regular-season win.
"We're happy with the win, but that's about it," Moreno said. "When you're putting points on the board to help your team, that's all that matters."
Moreno's seven touchdown runs this season are second-most in team history through six games (Terrell Davis had nine in 1998). Moreno finished Sunday's game with 42 yards on 15 carries.
Manning was 28-of-42 passing for 295 yards. Each week, he has set the record for touchdown passes to start the season, and Manning did it again Sunday.
Manning now has 22 TD passes through six games, which broke Tom Brady's 21 to start New England's 2007 season.
The Broncos finished with 407 total yards, 26 first downs and 7-of-13 on third-down conversions. The Jaguars finished with 362 yards, 20 first downs and 5-of-14 on third downs.
Henne was 27-of-42 passing for 303 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions, while Blackmon finished with 14 catches for 190 yards.
"We're getting better and better as a team," Blackmon said. "That's all we can ask for."
Henne didn't meet with reporters after the game. He rushed back home because his wife was in labor.
From the start Sunday, Manning had a short field. The Jaguars tried a fake punt after going three-and-out on their initial drive. Manning got help on a dump pass on third-and-20 from Moreno, who went 28 yards to the Jaguars' 9-yard line.
Three plays later, Manning found Julius Thomas was all alone in the back of the end zone after the Jaguars defense bit on Manning's play-fake to Moreno.
Manning got them to bit again on the second touchdown pass when his pump fake to Eric Decker froze the Jaguars and Welker was alone behind the Jaguars' linebackers for a 14-0 lead.
"I proud of the way we came out there, especially in the second half and the way we started the game," Welker said. " But there was a lot of bad football out there, and we have to correct that stuff. ... Any win you can get in this league, we're happy about."
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