The Jacksonville Jaguars meticulously and methodically moved downfield on the gassed Denver defenders, relegating the league's top tailback to a sideline spectator kicking his cleats like a bored child on an anthill.
The Jaguars jump-started their 23-14 thumping of the Broncos on Sunday with the longest drive in franchise history. Reggie Williams' 3-yard touchdown catch from David Garrard against 12 defenders, no less capped the 18-play, 80-yard torture test that lasted 11 minutes, 44 seconds.
``It's like being on the treadmill for a half hour straight,'' linebacker Ian Gold said.
The drive gave the Jaguars a 7-0 lead and much more.
``I thought that was a big statement,'' Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio said, ``and that set the tone of the day for us.''
The Broncos (2-1) never recuperated, surrendering scores on the next three possessions and watching the Jaguars (2-1) control the clock for nearly 39 minutes.
Denver's offense never recovered from all that standing around, either.
The Broncos' high-octane unit, which had piled up 911 yards the first two weeks, managed just 265 and scored on two of 10 possessions, turning the ball over on an interception, a fumble and twice on downs.
``We wanted to give our defense a rest and we weren't able to do that,'' Denver receiver Brandon Stokley said after the Broncos posted their lowest time of possession total (21:18) in 15 years.
Travis Henry ran just 11 times for 35 yards, about 100 yards below his average.
``That's what we usually do to people,'' Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said, ``and they did it to us.''
The Jaguars controlled the game so well that Shanahan, out of timeouts and with his headset malfunctioning, went for it on fourth-and-5 from his own 9 with more than four minutes remaining and his team trailing 20-14 after Henry's 6-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter.
``I just had a gut feeling with the way they were controlling the tempo of the game that that would give us the best chance to win,'' Shanahan said. ``And it almost turned out good.''
Tight end Daniel Graham dropped the potential first-down pass.
``I just hit the ground and dropped the ball, it's on me,'' said Graham, who spiked the ball in frustration, giving the Jaguars the ball at the 4.
Jacksonville was turned away inside the 1 for the second time, and John Carney's third short field goal, this one from 18 yards, provided the final margin with 2:10 left.
The Broncos also had their troubles in the red zone. They burned their final two timeouts late in the third quarter before going for it on fourth-and-1 from the 3. Jay Cutler, however, was stuffed by Daryl Smith on a keeper in which the Broncos had no tight ends and three wide receivers.
Denver mustered just 47 yards on 18 rushing attempts, the fourth-worst total under Shanahan.
The Jaguars took a 17-7 halftime lead that could have been bigger had Garrard not spiked the ball on third-and-goal from the 1 in the waning seconds, forcing the field goal unit to come on.
``The coaches were yelling at me, 'Spike the ball!' I kept thinking to myself, 'Why are they telling me to spike the ball?''' Garrard said. ``I don't know. We had a timeout, we definitely should have used it. Even after I spiked that ball, I could have (dived) over the top. We were only inches away. We're going to work on stuff like that and hopefully try not to have that happen again.''
After Garrard's perplexing spike, Carney kicked a 19-yarder for a 17-7 halftime lead.
Domenik Hixon fumbled the second-half kickoff, linebacker Brian Iwuh recovered for Jacksonville and Carney kicked a 27-yarder to make it 20-7.
Henry, who had gained 267 yards coming in, carried just three times for 6 yards in the first half, not the kind of display the Broncos or their fans expected on the day that Terrell Davis was inducted into the team's ring of fame.
About the only thing that went Denver's way before the halftime ceremony honoring the former Super Bowl MVP was Brandon Marshall's performance on the Broncos' second drive, when he caught three passes for 91 yards.
His 30-yard gain to the 1 in which he slipped four tacklers set up fifth-year tight end Nate Jackson's first career touchdown catch.
Marshall finished with seven catches for a career-best 133 yards which was one more yard than the rest of the Broncos combined.
``It's been the story of my career as far as Little League and on. Every time I have a big game, I don't get the win with it,'' Marshall said. ``If I could trade it in for a victory, that would be beautiful.''< ^Notes:@ Broncos DE Elvis Dumervil had two sacks for the second straight week. ... Cutler didn't speak with the media afterward because he was getting treatment for what the team said was a ``mild ankle sprain.'' Broncos S John Lynch left with a strained groin in the first half and didn't return. Denver FB Paul Smith hurt his neck. ... Jacksonville's only injury was to RB Fred Taylor, who gained 84 yards on 17 carries and said his bruised leg was OK. ... The Broncos hadn't lost the time of possession battle so badly since Sept. 20, 1992, when they held the ball for just 20:42 at Philadelphia.
Updated: 05/20/2013 - Two weekends left to catch one great show!