DENVER --Sunday afternoon at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the Broncos moved to 6-0.
But it didn't feel like a locker room that had just won by 16 points after a 35-19 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"At the end of the day, a win is a win. But we know we could play a lot better," said wide receiver Eric Decker, who caught five passes for 50 yards. "We knew from the start all this talk about lines and whatnot – this is NFL football. And we knew we had to come to play. We made some mistakes offensively. We thought the defense really played well, gave us some good field position. The best thing about this team is that we always find a way to win."
The offense was hard on itself after the game, but the group got off to a good start in the first qaurter.
After the defense forced a three-and-out, the offense capped its opening drive with a 3-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Peyton Manning to tight end Julius Thomas.
Another Jacksonville punt allowed Denver to drive 95 yards in 12 plays, a series that Manning once again finished off with a touchdown pass, this one 20 yards to Wes Welker. Welker now has at least one touchdown pass in all six of the Broncos' games.
"We certainly started well up 14-0 and then just hit a little lull there," said Manning, who finished the game 28-of-42 for 295 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
To the quarterback's point, the Jaguars controlled the second quarter, providing all of the scoring in the frame.
A 50-yard Josh Scobee field goal put Jacksonville on the board, and the offense captalized on a fumbled snap by the Broncos later in the quarter to put three more points on the board, pulling to within 14-6.
Manning's lone interception in the game also came in the second quarter, and linebacker Paul Posluszny took it 59 yards down the sideline for a defensive touchdown. Though the ensuing two-point conversion attempt failed, the Jaguars were within two points at halftime.
"The turnovers and everything else was not the type of football we need to play and not the type of football that we're capable of playing," Welker said.
It left the Broncos with some work to do after the break.
"Second half, coming in being up by two, it had to be a turnaround," said cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who had a tackle for loss and two passes defensed in the game. "We went out there and just kept fighting."
In the third and fourth quarters, it was the Knowshon Moreno show.
Moreno scored three times in the second half -- from the 1-yard line and the 8-yard line in the third quarter then from 3 yards out in the fourth.
"Knowshon was awesome, especially down there in the red zone," Manning said.
Moreno's first and second touchdowns were sandwiched by a touchdown drive by the Jaguars -- a nine-play, 80-yard series that running back Maurice Jones-Drew capped with a 5-yard scoring run.
But the defense forced two turnovers -- interceptions by cornerback Kayvon Webster and linebacker Danny Trevathan, who helped seal last week's win with a pick -- to make sure Denver stayed on top down the stretch.
"Every game is going to have some form of adversity," said safety David Bruton, who had a 35-yard run on a fake punt to keep a third-quarter Broncos scoring drive alive. "It's how we handle it as men, as competitors, as football players, as prideful individuals, how we handle it and continue to fight and prosper through tough situations."
All throughout the locker room, players made it a point to praise the way Jacksonville played the game, and said that while people outside the building might have been surprised, everyone on the roster understood the challenge that the Jaguars were would present.
"I think it's just noise on the outside to be real honest with you," Head Coach John Fox said. "I think all these games are hard. I've heard people tell me it looks easy – there is nothing about it that's easy. It's all hard. I'm just pleased that we're sitting here 6-0."