DENVER -- Sunday's 35-19 win was important in and of itself, but as is often the case, the value of what the Broncos did at times isn't simply in the result of that play, but what it sets up for future games.
A TALE OF TWO FAKES
The Jaguars' ill-fated fake-punt call at the end of their first possession revealed just how steep they felt the mountain was. The timing and field position made this a shaky call, and the decision to try and gain four yards with fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou plowing toward the inside was a bit curious. From where he was lined up at the Jacksonville 21, he had to plow nine yards through an area of the field in which 11 players were compressed to reach the line to gain.
The play was high-risk, but it was not high-reward; Ta'ufo'ou's lack of breakaway speed ensured that the only chance of success rested on him bulling his way through. And against a special-teams unit that was on guard for the fake, it was doomed from the start.
"We saw the wings crash," said Broncos special-teams captain
This was a 2004 game in which the Titans, then 4-7, reached deep into their satchel for any piece of trickery they could find to defuse the 8-3 Colts, who had averaged 39.4 points a game in the previous five weeks.
"The Titans were just trying to onside kick it, fake punts; they had three onside kicks in the first quarter," Bruton recalled. "So we were just prepared for it, talked about watching the fake and just being prepared for all the gimmicks just so that they could steal a possession."
The play also demonstrated
Contrast all that with Denver's fake-punt call in the third quarter.
Unlike Jacksonville's call, the Broncos' fake was low-risk (a failure would not have put the Jaguars in field-goal position immediately) and high-reward (because of Bruton's raw speed; he remains among the fastest players on the team).
"We had the field position where we wanted to, and they gave us the look," said Bruton. "Any time we can swing momentum our way, it's been huge, and that's definitely a big thing with our special teams this year -- we've always had a play, some way, that's definitely swung the momentum in our favor in a huge way."
The Broncos had the manpower on that side to take care of every Jaguars rusher one-on-one; the Jaguars had two men opposite Broncos gunner
The long-term consequence of this play is that the Broncos might not see as many teams devote two men to their gunners, opting to keep an extra man or two closer to the inside. A freer release for Caldwell and
-- If there's one area the Broncos would like to improve in their record-smashing passing game, it is the ratio of dropped passes. They dropped five on Sunday, including two apiece by running backs
-- Knowshon Moreno's three touchdowns will force teams to change what they do in goal-to-go situations. On his last score, a 3-yard run on third-and-goal, the Jaguars played the Broncos conservatively, only attacking with four men. The Broncos had a surplus of available blockers, which allowed
And although Jackson has received the glory the last two weeks, fellow 2012 draft pick