Vic Fangio Rips Broncos Over ‘Unnecessary’ Penalties After Win Over Jags

Getty Courtland Sutton #14 of the Denver Broncos celebrates with Teddy Bridgewater #5 and Tim Patrick #81. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

It wasn’t always artful, but the Denver Broncos (2-0) kept the frisky Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) at bay in a 23-13 win in Week 2.

The September 19 road win keeps the Broncos unbeaten through two games.

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A Sloppy Win is Still a Win

Head coach Vic Fangio wasn’t throwing out verbal bouquets after the win, acknowledging “unnecessary” mistakes that made the game a lot closer than it should’ve been.

“By no means [was I 100% pleased]. We have to play better,” Fangio said during his post-game presser, immediately following the game. “But eventually when you play good defense and the offense is moving it, you’ll eventually plow your way through it.”

Fangio emphasized two areas of improvement, cleaning up penalties and special teams — the latter being the bane of Broncos Country’s existence since special teams coordinator Tom McMahon took over in 2018.

Denver had a whopping 10 penalties for 101 yards, while the special teams allowed a 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Jamal Agnew, late in the fourth quarter.

“Penalties [are] way out of whack. We have to cut those out, especially the ones that are unnecessary,” Fangio said. “Kickoff return was disappointing, obviously. It’s not a problem that we haven’t addressed. We just need to keep sawing wood at it.”

Still More Highs Than Lows

Fangio was critical of moments when execution was less than desirable, but overall, the Broncos did what they had to do. Beating the teams you should beat is what good teams do…and the 2021 Broncos have the look of being good.

Perhaps the biggest bright spot was the play of wideout Courtland Sutton. The veteran, who missed nearly all of 2020 with an ACL tear, started out slow in the opening win over the New York Giants, the previous week, but made up for it with a stellar game against the Jaguars. Sutton registered a game-high 159 yards on nine receptions.

His quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, wasn’t too shabby himself, as he stacked together another splendid afternoon, going 26-of-34 for 328 yards and two touchdowns. The veteran signal caller had high praise for his receiver and was beaming at the podium.

“It was great seeing Court going out there making plays,” said Bridgewater. “We knew it’d be a game where those guys would get man coverage and get some single-high coverage. We’ve seen how hard Court has worked. He was a Pro Bowl receiver and we saw why.”

The defense was also special, despite allowing an early touchdown to Trevor Lawrence and the offense. They regrouped and didn’t allow an offensive touchdown by the Jaguars the remainder of the way. Fangio was superb in his play-calling, showing why safety Kareem Jackson likes to call his coach a “mad scientist.” The long-time coach was savvy in disguising coverages and befuddling Jacksonville’s rookie passer. Lawrence was 14-of-33 for just 118 yards passing, one touchdown, and two interceptions.

Game Knows Game

The interceptions came from two guys at different arcs of their careers. The first pick was from rookie Patrick Surtain II, he of the cool nickname. Surtain was able to exact some revenge on Lawrence, who led Clemson to the 2019 National Title game over Surtain II’s Alabama. It was the rookie’s first-career pick.

The second pick came from Jackson, whose interception late in the third quarter staved off any momentum from the Jaguars, who were driving and down 17-7. It was Jackson’s 20th-career interception.

The efforts of Sutton, Surtain II, and Jackson, earned the trio game balls from Fangio.

Welcome Home

When the Broncos take on the New York Jets, September 26, it’ll be the first time hosting a capacity crowd at Empower Field at Mile High Stadium. The venue holds over 76,000 fans, so Broncos Country should be rabid and rocking.

“I expect an electric stadium, so buckle yourself down,” said Fangio. “The sports fans in Denver are fantastic.”

Bridgewater said it’ll be nice playing in front of the orange-clad crowd as a member of the Broncos and not the enemy.

“I get to play in front of a packed Broncos stadium. I get to experience it as a Bronco. Looking forward to that,” said Bridgewater, who added that a fast start will get the fans even more delirious with joy. “Moving forward, we’ll put an emphasis on getting greedy [attempting chunk plays downfield].

Outside linebacker Von Miller was giddy at the podium, as he touted the play of the game-ball recipients — particularly Surtain II. But he was also stoked to know the Broncos will be opening the stadium to his beloved fanbase.

“It’s gonna be cool. We love Broncos Country and Broncos Country loves us,” Miller said. “It’s going to be great to go there 2-0. I know they’ll appreciate that. If we play our best ball, I feel comfortable with our odds in any game.”

Not All Was Rosy

Miller switched gears soon after, noting the pain he felt for his bookend linebacker, Bradley Chubb. The former NC State star made his 2021 season debut, but exited late in the second quarter when it appeared he reaggravated his ankle. He was listed as questionable to return at the time, but was soon ruled out after halftime.

Miller felt for his buddy.

“It sucks. Bradley has been doing everything he can possibly do to play. If No. 55 was anybody else other than Bradley Chubb, he probably would’ve sat out the game with that injury,” said Miller. “It’s tough.”

Chubb wasn’t the only starting defender to be knocked out of the game, as inside linebacker Josey Jewell also exited with a shoulder injury.

Follow Tony Williams on Twitter: @TBone8

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