The New York Jets just can’t stand prosperity, and they’ve shown that time and again this season. But Sunday’s 23-0 defeat to the woeful Denver Broncos was the epitome of Gang Green not being able to take advantage of what should’ve been a gimme win.
Heading into the season, the Broncos (4-9) were thought to be a legit playoff contender, while the Jets (5-8) were thought to be pretenders. But as the season unfolded, it was the Broncos that faded after a 3-1 start, while Gang Green seemed to gain steam with each surprisingly competitive week. Even after close defeats, the Jets seemed to be on track, had players openly talking about the playoff race in the locker room, and gave their long-suffering faithful hope.
Alas, Sunday’s lackluster performance in Denver pulled the rug from under their fans’ feet, brought them back to reality, and all but ended any hopes of a postseason march.
The Jets came out flat and stayed flat line for the entire game. Quarterback Josh McCown was coming off an AFC Offensive Player of the Week performance, but he was a non-factor in Denver before bowing out with a left hand injury at the 2:54 mark of the third quarter. Backup Bryce Petty was awful in relief, but even when McCown was on the field, the Jets’ offense looked lost.
McCown finished 6-of-12 for 46 yards and an interception before being finished off by a suddenly rejuvenated Broncos pass rush. His first half consisted of three completions and two turnovers. Petty went 2-of-9 for 14 yards and has likely shown the Jets’ brass that he cannot be entrusted to take the reins once McCown rides off into the sunset. The situation that Petty was thrown into obviously wasn’t ideal for any quarterback, let alone a career backup, but he looked very poor in the limited sample size that he provided.
The quarterback play wasn’t the only regression this week, as it was a total team defeat – shocking, considering the Jets’ Wild Card life was on the line. Yet the team put together arguably its worst showing of the season – and that includes that dreadful loss in Tampa when the Buccaneers were without its starting quarterback (Jameis Winston) and top receiver (Mike Evans), and journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick led the way for the Buccaneers.
Gang Green’s defense was just as uninspiring, as it couldn't slow down Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian, or contain wideout Demaryius Thomas. The former was once benched for Brock Osweiler, while the latter has had more than a few vanishing acts this season. But there was Siemian looking efficient (19-of-31 for 200 yards, and a touchdown) and Thomas accruing more receiving yards than the Jets had total yards. During one point late in the third quarter, Thomas had more yards receiving (88 yards) than the Jets had total yards (82), and that’s inexcusable for a team on the playoff bubble that was battling a team who quit on those dreams weeks ago.
As matchups with the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Chargers, and the New England Patriots loom on the horizon, and the Jets 2.5 games out of the sixth and final Wild-Card spot, Gang Green suddenly finds itself looking like the “same ol’ Jets.” And that’s a shame, considering they’ve played hard for head coach Todd Bowles in all but two games (Sunday and in a Week 2 loss in Oakland).
But for a team that prides itself on giving it their all each and every week, the Jets simply didn't show up. And this loss in the Mile High City may be the death knell to what was once a very promising campaign.
Gang Green notes:
- The Jets soon announced after the game that McCown suffered a broken hand, so it looks like the faithful will need to dust off that old “Ready For Petty” hashtag.
- The last time the Jets were shutout happened in October of 2014 in San Diego.
- Denver’s last shutout home win was November, 2005, ironically enough against the Jets.
- The slow start really doomed Gang Green. The Jets had just 40 total yards of offense in the first half, and at one point, they were sitting at minus-16 yards of total offense in the opening quarter. New York’s top two receivers, Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse, could only muster two catches on three targets in the opening half.
- The Jets only ran five offensive plays on Denver’s side of the field through three quarters, including a failed fourth-down attempt in the waning moments of the third.