Initial Reaction – Better But Not Good Enough, Jets Lose To Denver

Joe Caporoso on the Jets 31-17 loss to the Denver Broncos

The New York Jets were much more the team we saw week 1-4 today, than the disgrace we saw in San Diego last Sunday. They hung with the Denver Broncos until the final minutes, ultimately losing 31-17 (thanks to a late pick six for the cover). There were positives and progress in some areas but this remains a team staring down the barrel at 1-6 with a short week to prepare for New England. Nobody wants to hear about moral victories in October but with the playoffs a remote possibility, the Jets will be playing for plenty of moral victories in the coming months…so get used it. Many will look to pin today on an individual scapegoat, which is lazy. This was a team loss in a competitive game to a top three team in the NFL. 

Defensively, we saw shades of Rex Ryan at his best. He schemed up a coverage heavy game-plan that at times slowed down Peyton Manning and allowed the Jets to hang around. There still weren’t any turnovers, a critical touchdown drive allowed before the half and inability to get off the field on a crucial late game third down but this was a better showing than we’ve seen in recent weeks. It still remains perplexing as to why on the game’s biggest play, Rex did decide to go cover zero and leave Kyle Wilson on Wes Welker for an easy conversion but overall if Rex can coach like this against quarterbacks who aren’t future Hall of Famers, the Jets will be in solid shape defensively.

Offensively, Geno Smith was better than we’ve seen since the first half of week 2, particularly considering the amount of pressure he was under all day. It was not a perfect game and it looked ugly at times but Smith was able to get the Jets back within a touchdown after the team fell behind 24-7. He still didn’t run enough but threw a pair of touchdowns and knew what pass catchers to lean on. Jace Amaro had 10 receptions in only his sixth career NFL game, finishing with 68 yards and his first touchdown of the season. Eric Decker looked healthy and also hauled in 6 catches for 54 yards with a touchdown. The Jets offense has a prayer if Decker can stay on the field, Amaro can keep developing and Jeremy Kerley is further integrated back into the passing game.

The running game was absent today, finishing with 31 yards on 15 carries. It was an ugly day for the offensive line. Brian Winters was lost to an injury and will likely be out at least a few weeks, so we’ll see if Oday Aboushi can be an upgrade (he looked OK in limited action today). Chris Johnson isn’t bringing anything to the offense, dropping a pass and finishing with 11 total yards and even Chris Ivory struggled to find space today, only compiling 21 offensive yards.

Denver is a better team than the Jets and despite hanging with them, they were never able to make that one “big” play to swing the game. They lost the turnover battle (including a muffed punt…again) and couldn’t convert late when they had the ball down a touchdown. Things will look better for this team when they aren’t playing a top five quarterback in the NFL but by that point, who knows what their record is going to look like. New England took a beating injury wise today so we are likely in for a sloppy game on Thursday but it is hard at this point to expect the Jets to win a short week, on the road against a great quarterback.

Finally, it appears Dee Milliner blew out his ACL on field goal block, which is a damn shame. Milliner has not been able to stay healthy as a pro and the Jets badly need him at corner this season…despite relatively admirable performances by Darrin Walls and Philip Adams today, Milliner has the physical potential, when healthy, to be an above average starter in this league and it is long road back from that injury.

Vent out the frustrations in the comment section below but remember it is more complex situation than just fixating on one scapegoat for every problem with this 1-5 team. There are issues with the coaching, personnel, quarterback and in plenty of other places. Through six games, we’ve seen the Jets no show once, win once and compete but be unable to get over the hump four other times due to a mix of shortcomings in coaching AND personnel. Ultimately, today was what many expected, if not slightly better, judging from the rhetoric leading to kickoff…but a loss is a loss is a loss.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the EVP of Content at Whistle Sports