JACKSONVILLE – They were close. Once again.
And once again, the Jaguars' defense played very well against a very good team. But once again, it wasn't enough.
Quarterback Blake Bortles ran for a touchdown, but also threw two interceptions and lost a fumble as the Jaguars squandered a stifling defensive effort to allow the Denver Broncos to hold on for 20-10 victory over the Jaguars in front of 63,075 at EverBank Field Sunday.
Bortles' two interceptions included yet another one returned for a touchdown. His lost fumble was recovered by Broncos linebacker Shane Ray just after the two-minute warning.
Brandon McManus' 41-yard field goal four plays after Ray's recovery gave the Broncos' the final margin of victory with :29 remaining.
The Jaguars' seventh consecutive loss moved them to 2-10 and assured their sixth consecutive season with 10 more losses. The defending Super Bowl champion Broncos moved to 8-4.
The Jaguars are 0-5 at EverBank Field this season.
Bortles completed 19 of 42 passes for 181 yards and no touchdowns with the two interceptions. Paxton Lynch, a rookie making his second career start, completed 12 of 24 passes for 104 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions for Denver.
The game's key play came midway through the third quarter.
That was when Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby intercepted Bortles and returned it 51 yards for a Denver touchdown. That made it 17-3, Broncos, with 7:34 remaining in the third quarter.
It was third time this season Bortles has thrown an interception returned for a touchdown – the third time in the last four games. It was the 11th such play of Bortles' career.
The Jaguars cut the lead to 17-10 with a 22-yard scramble by Bortles with 14:03 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars had an opportunity to tie midway through the fourth quarter, but Bortles threw incomplete to wide receiver Allen Robinson on 4th-and-four from the Broncos 38.
Robinson was penalized 15 yards after the play for removing his helmet while complaining about Denver cornerback Aqib Talib not being called for interference.
The Broncos took a seven-point halftime lead by taking advantage of their lone early scoring opportunity.
The Jaguars took a 3-0 lead when kicker Jason Myers converted a 47-yard field goal with 11:01 remaining in the second quarter. That capped a seven-play, 30-yard drive. The Broncos had punted on all four possessions to that point and the Jaguars had punted on their first three possessions.
The Broncos had their first extended drive on the ensuing possession and used it to take a 7-3 lead when running back DeVontae Booker scored on a six-yard run with 6:54 remaining in the half. That capped an eight-play, 75-yard drive.
The Jaguars squandered a chance to cut into the lead or take the lead when Broncos cornerback Chris Harris intercepted Bortles. Bortles on 2nd-and-5 from the Denver 37 threw a back-shoulder pass to Robinson, who bobbled the pass into the air enabling Harris to intercept.
Denver took a 10-3 halftime lead when McManus capped a four-play, 29-yard drive with a 32-yards field goal with :01 remaining in the second quarter.
PLAYER OF THE GAME … Jaguars defense.No one player necessarily stood out from the rest, but the Jaguars' defense allowed one touchdown drive and two field-goal drives. The field-goal drive covered 29 and six yards. Maybe there was no individual player of the game for the Jaguars, but as a unit the defense shined yet again.
The Jaguars finished with 333 total yards, including 154 yards rushing and 179 passing. The Jaguars had 158 total yards, including 52 rushing, and a turnover at halftime.
The Jaguars' defense held the Broncos to 206 total yards. The Jaguars held the Broncos to 153 first-half yards – 77 passing and 76 rushing.
Myers' 47-yard field goal made him 16 of 19 with his only misses this season from over 50 yards. The Jaguars were hurt late in the first half by a 15-yard penalty on tight end Alex Ellis for hitting Broncos returner Kalif Raymond out of bounds after a 19-yard return to the Broncos 42. McManus' 32-yard field goal with :01 remaining in the second quarter came four plays later.
INJURY UPDATES …
Jaguars center Brandon Linder left the game after the Jaguars' second play from scrimmage. Tyler Shatley replaced him at center and Linder returned later in the quarter.
Jaguars cornerback Peyton Thompson sustained an ankle injury in the second quarter. TE Neal Sterling (hip) and LB Dan Skuta (elbow) sustained third-quarter injuries.
Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (ankle) left the game in the third quarter and did not return. He had been listed as questionable on the Friday injury report. …
Running back Denard Robinson sustained an ankle injury in the third quarter.
The Jaguars were without three front-line offensive players Sunday with tight end Julius Thomas (back), running back Chris Ivory (hamstring) and wide receiver Allen Hurns (hamstring) missing the game.
Thomas has been doubtful on the injury report entering the weekend and Ivory and Hurns had been ruled out Friday.
Defensive end Jared Odrick missed Sunday's game with a shoulder injury. Also inactive Sunday for the Jaguars: quarterback Brandon Allen, cornerback Josh Johnson and offensive lineman Jeremiah Poutasi.
*With Ivory out, Robinson started at running back – and T.J. Yeldon began the game playing in passing situations. Robinson rushed for 53 yards on 17 carries before leaving and Yeldon played through an ankle injury to rush for 55 yards on 14 carries.
*Marqise Lee started for Hurns opposite Allen Robinson at wide receiver with Bryan Walters getting increased work in the slot.