Gang Green since their opening win against the Raiders week 1, have dropped two straight at home since then (both in regrettable fashion to Chicago and Detroit) in the course of losing four straight; While Denver returned to MetLife Stadium for the first time since Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2, 2014. It seemed to be a repeat of the house of horrors the Broncos experienced on that day but things shifted in an hurry Sunday afternoon.
There are no moral victories in the NFL and although it seemed to be a positive move in the right direction of once again becoming a competitive football team; there were still way too many miscues to make a difference in the outcome.
“Obviously, I’m frustrated,” Smith said. “Five straight losses in a row, obviously has everyone frustrated but I’m optimistic.:
Geno Smith in his first action since ‘movie gate’ and an ensuing 31-0 beat-down the Jets took on the west coast at the hand of the San Diego Chargers went from soul searching for answers to rebounding just seven days later to throw a much needed touchdown pass in the end-zone to rookie Jace Amaro (first of his NFL career) to take a 7-3 lead at the 4:16 mark in the opening period.
With their first lead in any game this season since week 2 at Green Bay, you couldn’t have scripted the opening of the game any better for Gang Green, except they failed to take advantage.
“The game plan was great,” Smith said. “We’ve should’ve done a better job.”
Denver was attempting to get its act together early on, failing to convert on third down on its first three attempts mostly due to the exotic blitzes and pressures Rex Ryan threw at Peyton Manning forcing him to make uncomfortable throws out of the pocket as he was hurried.
That was until muffed punts on both the kickoff and punting side of things by Walter Powell derailed those plans.
Powell’s errors allowed the Broncos Steven Johnson to recover and it marked the lasting turning point in the contest.
The Jets were never able fully to recover from those plays and playing against the Broncos they were never afforded the chance to as they played from behind trying to play the deadly game of catch-up.
“Obviously, a tough day,” a befuddled Ryan said. “Again.”
In a season where seemingly everything has gone against them, everything went left today as again they simply couldn’t get out of their own way.
The Jets ranked 5th in running in the NFL coming into the game had just 9 yards through three quarters and finished with a mere 31 yards on 15 carries.
All things considered, the Jets defense played pretty well against the incomparable Peyton Manning, despite giving up three touchdowns on the day to the lethal all-pro Thomas combo of tight end Julius (2) and Demaryius (1).
Gang Green kept Manning from the record books as Manning needed 5 touchdowns to at least tie Brett Favre’s NFL career record of 508 touchdown passes. A fairly pedestrian day (22 of 33 for 237 yards: down from last week’s career-high 473 yards to along with four TD passes) for the future Hall-of-Famer should have been enough to perhaps pull off the upset –
“It’s just ridiculous how good he is,” Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan said.
But like any great quarterback with opportunity they’ll take advantage of the gifts given and that’s what Manning did.
“Any time you win on the road in the NFL,” Manning said, “it’s a good thing.”
Jets had a chance with 6:09 in the 4th at their own 33-yard line. Down seven and with a chance to tie the game, except they had an unfortunate three and out where Geno seemed too dependent on his first read and looking for the combo of either Amaro or Eric Decker.
On a third and six, Manning methodically found Hillman out of the flat for a gain of nine to essentially ice the game.
Even still the Broncos punted the ball to the Jets with more chance for Smith to play the hero in front of the MetLife crowd, but it was all for naught as the second–year reverted to his rookie season throwing a pick six to Aqib Talib and another heartbreaker for the Jets to ponder on a short week to come on the road.
As the Jets find themselves at 1-5, you have to ask how did they get here? Week 1 seems so long ago and since then mostly missed opportunities have spelt doom for Rex Ryan’s club. Penalties, blown coverages, and today lack of a running game made them play from behind once Denver regained the lead. This was not the blowout that many expected coming into the game but momentum changed on any mistakes the Jets made which they were unable to gain back.
To add insult to injury, Denver’s tight end Julius Thomas on a score was caught on camera saying “It’s so easy!” In addition, they also allowed their second consecutive 100-yard rusher in Ronnie Hillman after giving up the century mark to the Chargers’ Branden Oliver and not previously doing so since week 14 of the 2013 NFL season.
Things are not going to get any easier, as in three days the Jets head up to Foxborough to face Tom Brady and the rejuvenated Patriots (4-2) who are winners of three straight after winning in Buffalo today.
Dee Milliner injured his right Achilles tendon during a field goal attempt and he sat out the rest of the game
Milliner was seen with crutches by his side as he was carted out of the locker room into the MetLife Stadium parking lot
Starting LG Brian Winters was out for the game after injuring his left leg
Rookie LB Trevor Reilly injured his knee