The Denver Broncos have lost their fourth game in the first five weeks of the 2023-24 season. Their third loss in their third home game, against their former head coach Nathaniel Hackett in the 'Snowcapped' Helmets debut. It was a complete collapse, and now the Broncos are 1-4 headed to Arrowhead for their Thursday Night Football game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
It was a game that many NFL fans anticipated, first of all because it was against their struggling head coach from last season Nathaniel Hackett, and secondly because of all the Sean Payton-Nathaniel Hackett drama in the offseason. Overall, the Broncos were outplayed by the Jets, and with that being said, let's take a look at the biggest takeaways from the game ...
1. Denver Broncos defense struggled against the run ... again
The Denver Broncos' defense has been horrible all season, specifically against the run. Against the Jets, it was the same. Second-year running back Breece Hall had a career-high in rushing yards with 177 yards on 22 attempts, and a touchdown in his first game with no workload limitation following an ACL tear. Additionally, Dalvin Cook had 23 rushing yards, Zach Wilson 26, and Michael Carter 8, for a total of 234 rushing yards on 32 attempts. Overall, on average, the Jets had 7.31 rushing yards/carry.
As I mentioned before, one of the keys for the Broncos to beat the Jets was stopping the run, and they did not.
2. Second Half offensive struggles continue
Something that I've also mentioned a couple of times and something that is very obvious regarding the Broncos' offensive failures ... the second half. Denver now has been outscored 93-54 in the second half through the first five games of the season. The Broncos were up by five points at half-time and received the second-half kickoff. They had three consecutive three-and-outs, the third one saved by a muffed punt by Jets return man Xavier Gibson.
Despite being down by five and recovering the ball, after that muffed punt, the Broncos tried a trick play which ended in a turnover. In the third quarter, the Broncos had 17 rushing yards, -2 passing yards and 1 turnover.
Linebacker Alex Singleton talked about the situation ...
""Coming out in the second half, we have to create that momentum back and not let them take it. We have to find a way to keep the momentum we have.”"- Alex Singleton after loss vs Jets
3. Jaleel McLaughlin and Nik Bonitto, two young beasts in the making
No Javonte Williams, no problem (kinda). The undrafted rookie out of Youngstown State Jaleel McLaughlin was a beast and a huge reason for the good offensive plays throughout the game.
He is a very explosive and versatile running back, who can defitely be the number one running back for the Broncos. I strongly believe that despite having Javonte healthy (for the next game/s), Jaleel should be the RB1. He is a beast, in both the running and passing game. On the first drive of the game, he had 63 all-purpose yards and one touchdown. He finished the game with 89 all-purpose yards and one touchdown, which is simply tough after having a huge start. I do not know what was going through Sean Payton's mind, but Samaje Perine was getting way more carries in the second half, instead of Jaleel.
Now, let's go to the other side of the ball. One of the positives from the defense is Nik Bonitto, another beast. He had 2 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 forced fumble (recovered by the Jets). Both sacks came in the first half, but still, he has been playing very well with 4.5 sacks in the past two games. Randy Gregory who? Nik Bonitto has emerged as the starting edge rusher for the Broncos and has been great.
Is it rebuild time for the Broncos? Do you believe in this team going forward? Onto KC ...