Oct 12, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) in the huddle during the third quarter against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
It wasn’t pretty throughout, but the Denver Broncos used another strong all-around performance this week to take down the New York Jets. Here’s the final:
As I previously stated, it was a pretty impressive all-around win for the Broncos in terms of how they were able to put together 31 points on the day. Still, you’d think having scored 31 points that it would be a glorious win and there would be no problems, but the Broncos found ways to frustrate fans yet again in this game.
Early on, it looked like they couldn’t get anything going, and the Jets held a 7-3 lead for quite a bit of time before the Broncos had a little explosion of offense, scoring twice before halftime and putting up a nice 17-7 lead at the break. Out of the half, the Broncos got the ball back from New York and scored again halfway through the third quarter, increasing their lead to 24-7.
That’s not where the problems began for the Broncos, but it’s where they started to get magnified a bit. Intent on establishing a ground game, and certainly understandably so, John Fox and the coaching staff force-fed Broncos backs, at times appearing to prefer punts to first downs and touchdowns. From the midway point of the third quarter on, the Broncos barely sniffed Jets territory.
After a field goal and touchdown cut the Broncos’ lead to just seven points, the Jets actually had the ball late in the fourth quarter with a chance to tie things up, but it would have taken an impressive drive and Geno Smith ended up throwing a pick-six to Aqib Talib. The Broncos’ 24-17 win suddenly became a 31-17 game that is going to deceive some in the box score, but the Broncos are and should be content to be 4-1 heading into next week’s matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.
Still, this is a team that doesn’t appear to be playing up to its full potential, at least by the standards I have for the offensive side of the ball. I mentioned on Twitter that this Broncos defense doesn’t appear to have any deficiencies or weaknesses in the long term, big picture scheme. The pass rush is turning up, the coverage is phenomenal for the most part, and the run defense is picking up right where it left off last year, among the best in the NFL.
The Broncos clearly want to establish balance offensively, and I get that, but I feel as though they are doing it at the expense of the offense, not to the benefit of it. This is a team that is build to spread the ball around, and pass to set up the run. They are trying the opposite approach, even using a formation that includes six offensive linemen and Virgil Green, essentially a 7th OL. That formation was being used in the 2nd half and the Broncos couldn’t move the ball at all, it seemed. The success was sporadic.
Aside from the touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, the Broncos punted every other drive in the second half. That’s unacceptable, especially for a team that is trying to preach balance offensively. There wasn’t any. In fact, the Broncos are pretty fortunate they ended up getting the pick-six from Aqib Talib, because the Jets had an opportunity to tie the game on that drive.
In the case of this game, no harm done. The Broncos are 4-1, which is the stat that really matters right now, and fans should be ecstatic about that. However, I think the Broncos are also 4-1 right now despite coaching, which isn’t a good thing. This team is undisciplined from the top down, and despite Julius Thomas’ assessment that scoring TDs is easy, the rest of the team could have fooled me. The Broncos had 11 penalties for over 100 yards today, some of them killers. That lack of discipline is reflective of the coaching and it’s been consistent throughout the season thus far.
You hate to complain after a win, especially when your team is 4-1. I expect great things from this Broncos team and to this point, I feel like there’s so much room for growth. That’s both a good and a bad thing. There was a lot of good to take from this game, but I couldn’t help but be frustrated in the game when it was 24-7 and the Broncos had no killer instinct on either side of the ball, letting the Jets walk right back into it.
I’ll have more analysis and reflection on this game coming soon, so be sure to check back for more updates!