When defensive tackle D.J. Jones got his hands on the football in the Browns' backfield on Sunday afternoon, a defensive touchdown was within his sights. Jones didn't quite make it to the end zone, but his third-quarter fumble recovery gave Denver possession at the Cleveland 20-yard line and set up a touchdown drive.
After the game, Jones said he wished he completed the scoop-and-score, but the opportunity to make such an impactful play was a highlight of his afternoon.
"Just like anybody else, I love contributing to the team," Jones said. "I should have scored. I should have got it, but I am glad I got it for the offense."
Jones has emerged as one of the Denver defense's key contributors during the Broncos' five-game winning streak. Prior to his fumble recovery and tackle in Denver's 29-12 victory over the Browns, the veteran defensive tackle stripped the ball from Minnesota running back Alexander Mattison on "Sunday Night Football," setting up another Broncos scoring drive. Against Buffalo, Jones accounted for four total tackles in a 24-22 Denver win on the road.
Takeaways and stout defensive line play have been among the primary reasons for the Broncos' midseason resurgence, but Jones said he's directing his focus on each game rather than the winning streak.
"[The winning streak] is a blessing, first and foremost," Jones said. "We are just trying to go 1-0 every week. Personally, I am not looking at stacking on top of each other, five in a row. Do not get ahead of yourselves. That is what I was always taught. But we are 1-0 today, and I am proud of the group."
Defensive end Zach Allen, made plays of his own against the Browns — including contributing to a fourth-quarter safety that capped off the Broncos' scoring — but he said playing with Jones has been essential to his individual success.
"He's one of the reasons why I came here," Allen said. "I've said it from Day 1. I remember being in Arizona watching his tape when he was in San [Francisco] and just being like, 'I want to play with that guy.' Luckily, I get to do it, and when we're on the field together, it definitely makes my job easier and raises the standard.
"He's really an energy guy for the whole defense. Everybody loves him. We're really fortunate to have him. He's been doing great the past two weeks. Last week and today, he's been awesome."