DEN-JAX grades: Defense picks up win for Broncos

The highest-graded players and top takeaways from the Broncos' win over the Jaguars.

| 7 months ago
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

DEN-JAX grades: Defense picks up win for Broncos

Denver Broncos 20, Jacksonville Jaguars 10

These are the highest-graded players and top takeaways from the Broncos’ win over the Jaguars.

Denver Broncos

Quarterback grade: Paxton Lynch, 38.0

Lynch leaves plays on the field but defense picks up the win

This proved to be a frustrating display by Paxton Lynch in his second career start with inaccuracy plaguing his performance. Lynch missed on seven of his 12 incomplete passes and perhaps most frustratingly left plays on the field by putting too much air under deep balls, under-throwing them and allowing coverage to recover. Twice Lynch’s receivers had separation down the field but lofted throws allowed Jags’ CB Jalen Ramsey to recover and break up the pass. Lynch went zero of five on passes aimed 20 yards or more downfield and has only one completion on deep passes through two starts of his rookie season.

Top offensive grades:

C Matt Paradis, 81.4
LT Russell Okung, 80.4
WR Demaryius Thomas, 72.2
TE Virgil Green, 71.0
WR Emmanuel Sanders, 70.6

Offense sputters but doesn’t backfire; rides defense to win

The Broncos passing game sputtered behind their first-round pick and the ground game was limited largely by a poor day from their guards, but the Broncos did just enough on offense to see through the victory. Largely that means not making the crucial mistake to gift a possession or a score to the Jaguars’ defense in the same way Blake Bortles and the Jaguars did. C Matt Paradis put in another strong showing in the heart of the offensive line, controlling every Jaguars’ defensive tackle not-named Malik Jackson on most plays.

Top defensive grades:

CB Chris Harris Jr., 92.9
CB Bradley Roby, 85.4
S T.J. Ward, 84.5
LB Todd Davis, 83.5
LB Brandon Marshall, 80.7

No fly zone enforced as Broncos swamp Jacksonville

You could list off 11 Broncos in the top defensive grade section and still not have a player with a game grade below 75 on said list. The Broncos’ defense was at its stifling best led by the secondary this time which locked down Blake Bortles and his receivers without pressure and capitalized with authority on the plays where the pressure did get to Bortles. Chris Harris Jr., Aqib Talib and Bradley Robey were targeted a combined 20 times in this game surrendering only six catches for 57 yards while breaking up four passes and intercepting two more. With only three missed tackles on the day, this was as well-rounded and dominant a defensive performance as you could hope to see from Denver.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Quarterback grade: Blake Bortles, 48.2

Broncos clamp down on Bortles and co.

Prior to the season this would have been one of the most anticipated matchups of passing game versus secondary in the season, but Blake Bortles couldn’t magically re-discover his 2015 form with his receivers and this proved to be a one-sided matchup. Bortles did his best work in this game with his legs as a scrambler, picking up the Jags’ only touchdown on the ground while completing less than 50 percent of his pass attempts. Bortles’ passer rating under pressure was only 9.8 as the Broncos’ pass rush got to Bortles on nearly 50 percent of his dropbacks in the second half after pressuring Bortles on only 20 percent of his first-half dropbacks.

Top offensive grades:

C Brandon Linder, 83.9
TE Neal Sterling, 71.7
RT Jermey Parnell, 65.6
WR Marqise Lee, 6.14
HB Denard Robinson, 57.5

Broncos stifle Jaguars offense

Though the Jaguars pried away one of the Broncos’ defensive stars in the offseason, this year’s Denver defense was still too much for this offense. C Brandon Linder was the one star performer for them, returning to the game after missing six snaps due to injury, but his performance was not matched elsewhere. Kelvin Beachum and Jermey Parnell combined to allow 10 pressures and the Jaguars’ receiving corps that was one of the league’s emergent units entering the season failed to take flight in the Broncos’ no fly zone.

Top defensive grades:

DT Malik Jackson, 83.6
CB Jalen Ramsey, 80.9
S John Cyprien, 80.8
LB Paul Posluszny, 79.4
S Tashaun Gipson, 79.1

Jackson leads strong defensive display

Coming off a two-sack performance against the Bills last week Malik Jackson turned in the kind of all-round performance the Jaguars would have been hoping for more often when they signed him away from Denver in the off-season. Jackson racked up three stops for the second straight week adding two pressures against his former employers — he seemed to be trying to single-handedly keep the Jaguars alive at points in the fourth quarter. But this was not a one-man show; Paul Posluszny’s five stops were the hallmark of another strong performance in a much-improved season while Jalen Ramsey allowed only two completions on eight passes, breaking up two of those passes by recovering to lofted Paxton Lynch deep balls.

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

  • Mike J.

    Being a local (but not a fan), I watched as I do every week. The Jaguars should institute a new offensive formation for everything but short-yardage plays,with two safeties lined up behind Bortles to make the tackles on those interceptions, & prevent the pick-six.

  • SSRed5Oh

    That seriously made this Jags fan laugh, yet remember how depressing, our situation has become.

    • Mike J.

      Well, I am a Bucs fan, & have been since 1976, so I know pain, & sympathize.

      • creative_dude

        Even if you root for the wrong team I like people who have a team and root for them in years good and bad. The front runners I do not much care for.

      • SSRed5Oh

        Thank you. I hope the Jags, start playing like they did in the late 90’s.