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Denver Broncos win ugly over the San Francisco 49ers: 5 winners and losers from ‘Sunday Night Football’

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos

The San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos took on one another Sunday night in a game that seemingly set NFL offenses back decades.

San Francisco held a 7-5 lead heading into the fourth quarter. That’s when Russell Wilson went full vintage Russell Wilson en route to leading Denver from behind. On the other side, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was a disaster waiting to happen in his first start of the season. Below, we look at the five biggest winners and losers from Denver’s 11-10 victory over San Francisco.

Related: San Francisco 49ers schedule and game-by-game predictions

Winner: Drake Jackson continues to show out for the San Francisco 49ers

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The one positive for San Francisco Sunday night was the performance of its defensive line. Even without star Arik Armstead in this one, the 49ers put continual pressure on Wilson. That included this rookie second-round pick from USC tallying two quarterback hits and a sack in defeat.

Jackson received a ton of praise from defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans throughout training camp and the preseason. He recorded his first half-sack last week against the Seattle Seahawks and saw a ton more action with Armstead sidelined Sunday night. Jackson could end up being a big-time edge pass rush threat opposite the all-world Nick Bosa moving forward.

Related: Denver Broncos schedule and game-by-game predictions

Loser: Jerry Jeudy struggles to connect with Russell Wilson for the Denver Broncos

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos
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Jeudy was questionable heading into Sunday night’s game with injuries to his ribs and shoulder. He didn’t seem to be anywhere near 100% in catching passes from Wilson after putting up 102 yards in a Week 1 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Jeudy caught just 2-of-6 targets for 17 yards in the game. He was blanketed big time by 49ers cornerback Charvarius Ward throughout the game. Whether he’s healthy remains to be seen. But Jeudy needs to be more consistent as a receiving option behind Courtland Sutton.

Related: Find out where the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers defenses stand

Winner: Josey Jewell steps up big time for the Denver Broncos

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos
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Jewell was seen as one of Denver’s weak links in the front seven heading into the 2022 season. He missed all but two games a season ago to injury. Back in 2020, the former Iowa standout yielded a 72.7 completion percentage when targeted.

Making his season debut Sunday night, Jewell might have put up his best single-game performance. He tallied eight tackles with two coming for loss while recording two QB hits, a sack and a fumble recovery. Talk about coming to play in his season debut. What a great performance from Jewell here.

Loser: Jimmy Garoppolo stinks it up for the San Francisco 49ers

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos
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Making his first start of the season in injured quarterback Trey Lance’s stead, Garoppolo started out hot against the Denver Broncos. He completed 8-of-10 to open things up, including a touchdown pass to Brandon Aiyuk. From there, it will all downhill for Jimmy Garoppolo.

Garoppolo finished the evening by completing a mere 10-of-19 passes. He threw a pathetic interception in the fourth quarter, lost a fumble and took an ugly safety in what ended up being an 11-10 loss. With Trey Lance sidelined for the remainder of the season, San Francisco is stuck Garoppolo. There’s some lacking confidence after his horrendous Week 3 performance. That’s for sure.

Related: Denver Broncos’ Russell Wilson and NFL’s top QBs of 2022

Winner: Russell Wilson works his magic for the Denver Broncos

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos
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It did not start out great for Wilson Sunday evening. In fact, Denver’s new starting quarterback led an offense that had eight three-and-outs as the early portion of the fourth quarter started. Fans inside Mile High were actually booing Wilson and the Broncos’ offense.

While the quarterback’s numbers were not great on Sunday (20-of-33 passing, 184 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT), he stepped up when the Broncos needed him the most. With Denver down 10-5 more than halfway through the fourth quarter, Wilson led the Broncos on a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown-scoring drive for the win. That possession saw him complete 5-of-7 passes for 58 yards while converting on multiple third-down opportunities. This represented Wilson’s first signature moment with the Denver Broncos, and it came against a former division rival at home.

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