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Broncos find way to make crucial plays in crucial moments in win over Jaguars

LONDON — Maybe all it takes is one play.

Maybe all it takes is one KJ Hamler 47-yard reception, one K'Waun Williams interception, one Latavius Murray touchdown to change the course of the season.

The Broncos spoke all week — and for weeks before that — about the need to make a game-changing play, to come up big in the biggest moments.

Again and again this season, the Broncos failed to make those plays — and on Sunday against the Jaguars, they made them.

"It was huge," Justin Simmons said of the 21-17 win. "Heading into the bye, we are getting some guys back, guys that are banged up [as we approach the] halfway point of the season, and it's going to be huge for us. Everyone talks about how wins are momentum builders, and for heading into the bye, this was a huge one. We talked about how this is a must-win for us, and ... we got the win. For us moving forward, it's building on this."

There were many examples on Sunday of the game-altering plays the Broncos had been seeking.

Simmons came down with a second-quarter interception at the goal line when Trevor Lawrence rolled to his right and threw an ill-advised pass. Instead of a 14-0 deficit, the Broncos remained behind by just a touchdown.

Jerry Jeudy worked across the field on a third-and-7 to haul in a 25-yard pass, which set up his jet-sweep touchdown on the very next snap.

Greg Dulcich made play after play on the Broncos' first possession of the third quarter, tallying 78 yards in one series, as Denver drove 98 yards and took the lead for the first time.

Facing a three-point deficit with 3:54 to play, the Broncos made several more critical plays. Russell Wilson launched a 47-yard pass to Hamler that pushed the Broncos to the edge of field-goal range.

"We had talked about that in between series, that we wanted to give KJ an opportunity for a go-ball to that side, and we got the look we wanted and he executed it to perfection," Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett said. "That's what we're looking for, just when you have those opportunities, being able to make it happen."

Then, Wilson scrambled on third-and-5 for a 10-yard gain that would eventually lead to a go-ahead touchdown.

"I [did] high knees on third down," Wilson joked.

Williams essentially sealed the win with his interception, but even in the final moments, the Broncos made the type of plays that winners must make. On fourth-and-1, with 36 seconds to play, the Broncos opted against a field goal that would push the lead to seven. Instead, Wilson barreled forward for the game-sealing first downs.

Following the win, one that pushes the Broncos to 3-5 at the bye week, Denver is hopeful it can maintain the momentum. Whether that's possible will not be clear until Nov. 13, when the Broncos travel to Nashville to face the Titans.

Sunday's game, though, did provide a template for the Broncos. They remained patient with the running game and totaled more than 100 yards on the ground. They were efficient in the red zone, scoring touchdowns on all three possessions. And they were able to respond from a 10-0 deficit and a Wilson interception, which potentially saved the season.

"The first quarter, that was a hot start," Hackett said, with a hint of sarcasm. "We come out and we go three-and-out, throw a pick on the second play. Again, that comes to that pressing, people wanting to make things happen instead of operating and not trying to do too much.

"[I] talked with Russell [and] told him to take a breath, breathe, just do what he does. I think that as we kind of came into what we wanted to do in this game after we saw the adjustments that Jacksonville had made, we were able to get some efficient plays for him.

"That's how he started feeling in that groove, because it's a long football game, and with a great defense like we have you're always going to be in that game, and I think he knows that."

It's somewhat obvious, the notion that a team must make important plays to win. In four one-possession losses, though, the Broncos failed to do that when it mattered. After a win at Wembley Stadium, perhaps they've found their way. All that's left is to do it again.

"I think that we've been in every single game," Wilson said. "This season could be completely flipped around, and the only way we can flip it around is [by doing it] ourselves. We've got to keep answering the bell."

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