The Denver Broncos took care of business on the road against an inferior team on Sunday. The Jacksonville Jaguars put up a fight, aided by a one-sided referee team and some mental mistakes by the road team, but they were no match as the Broncos emerged victorious, 23-13.
The 10-point margin of victory for the Broncos was only as close as it was due to Jacksonville returning a kickoff for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. In the Week 2 contest, there were some Broncos who shined bright and a few who had a rough day.
Here are the Broncos' three biggest risers and fallers coming out of Week 2.
Riser: Courtland Sutton | WR
Sutton looked like his old self after a one-catch debut last week. He logged nine receptions (on 12 targets) for 159 yards on the day and was the best offensive player on the field.
Sutton's stats would have been even better had he not been interfered with on a long pass in the first quarter (which went inexplicably uncalled by the referees). That play was a likely touchdown if the defender hadn’t been pulling him back by the jersey.
Faller: Dalton Risner | LG
Risner again had a tough game. He was flat out beaten multiple times in pass protection in the first half and the running game struggled early on. Many of the good runs on the day was due to some very tough slogging by Javonte Williams and not because of particularly big holes opened by the Broncos' offensive line.
On a few occasions, Risner was standing around watching when he could have helped push the pile. He is typically tenacious but didn’t seem himself today. The miscues definitely didn’t help the Broncos’ third-down efficiency as they only converted 2-of-11 on the 'money down.'
Riser: Kareem Jackson | S
One of the more underrated players in the league, Jackson came up big on Sunday for the Broncos' defense. His timely interception in the third quarter put a halt to a driving Jaguars' offense when the game was still on the line.
Jackson also had a huge open-field tackle that would have been a large gain and likely would have put the Jaguars in scoring range.
Faller: KJ Hamler | WR
Hamler had a rough day against the Jaguars. He was a complete non-factor replacing Jerry Jeudy.
Hamler dropped a third-down pass early in the game. Granted, it was a tough catch to hold onto with a helmet-to-helmet hit, but he still needs to make those grabs. His elusiveness is one of his signature traits, but he was easily tackled in the open field on his one catch.
Riser: Josey Jewell | ILB
Jewell was the best defender on the field in the first half of the game. He had two huge tackles for a loss and the Broncos' defense as a whole shut down the Jaguars' running game.
When Jewell exited the game due to a shoulder injury, it was apparent that the Broncos weren’t as good against the run as the Jaguars started to churn out some yardage on the ground. His huge special teams hit, which unfortunately knocked him out of the game, was the biggest of the game. Jewell left early but his great first half is enough to get on this list.
Faller: Justin Strnad | ILB
When Jewell went down, Strnad came in as his replacement and the drop-off was noticeable. The Jaguars' rushing game started to gain yardage after it was completely shut down in the first half, and the short dump-offs started to be effective.
Strnad whiffed on an open-field tackle that led to a first down in the fourth quarter. He has a significant amount of athleticism, but he needs to develop his reads and instinctual play to really be a threat for a starting role.
Strnad finished second on the team behind only Jackson with five combined tackles (three solo) but many of them were clean-up plays. Strand needed experience and he got on Sunday, which is a plus while the Broncos came away with the win.
Follow Thomas on Twitter @ThomasHallNFL.
Subscribe to Mile High Huddle on YouTube for daily Broncos live-stream podcasts!