It is tough to believe, but the New York Jets are 5-2 and riding a four-game winning streak. The latest victory came today in Denver over the Broncos. The final score was 16-9.
I know some fans are talking about how the win was ugly. After what we have seen the last decade plus, I don't know how it’s possible to be upset with a Jets win.
That said, it was fairly obvious going into the game that this was not going to be a visually appealing game of football. An already struggling Denver offense had to turn to a backup quarterback. Meanwhile the Broncos feature an excellent defense. Four games into his second season, Zach Wilson appears to still be a fairly raw and limited passer. He needs the pieces around him to help him out. That was a tough task before the Jets lost three key starters to injury in addition to Elijah Moore unofficial suspension.
The formula for this game was simple. Hope you get just enough from the offense. Let the defense feast on an inexperienced backup quarterback. Maybe a forced turnover can swing the game. Also play good special teams.
There were a few troubling signs in the first half. The Jets defense wasn’t giving up a lot of points, but they were letting the Broncos sustain long drives. Meanwhile, the Jets weren’t sustaining much of anything on offense. Their biggest success came on a long Breece Hall touchdown run.
26 minutes into the game, the Broncos had run 39 plays to the Jets’ 15 and had been on offense for 19 of those minutes. Generally speaking, time of possession is a vastly overrated stat. However, a defense on the field for a long time at altitude can be a dangerous mix. I saw visions of the Jets defense gasping for air with the game on the line.
To their credit, the unit played a tremendous second half. The Broncos weren’t able to generate much of anything offensively. The defense also generated that big turnover. A pressure by Quinnen Williams forced an errant pass by Brett Rypien. That put the Jets in scoring range and set up a field goal to stretch their lead to four.
Later in the second half the Jets put together one drive on offense, lasting ten plays that resulted in another field goal to make the margin a touchdown.
On special teams, Greg Zuerlein had a perfect day. Denver wasn’t so lucky. Brandon McManus missed an extra point and a field goal.
The game more or less followed the script the Jets needed. It was unlikely to be a blowout. The Jets did enough.
Perhaps this is more impressive considering the adversity the team overcome. Already down Elijah Moore, who did not travel with the team to Colorado, the Jets lost three key offensive players during the game, Breece Hall, Alijah Vera-Tucker, and Corey Davis.
If there is any reason to feel gloom about this game it isn’t that the win was too ugly. It is these key injuries. Of the three, Hall might be the player the Jets can least afford to lose. While the Jets have a quality second back in Michael Carter, Hall has become the centerpiece of the offense in a way Carter can’t replicate. Unfortunately it sounds like the Jets are pessimistic about the injury based on preliminary tests.
We will find out how serious these injuries are in the days ahead. There is still some very positive news tonight. The Jets are 5-2 and riding a four game winning streak. They are well on their way to a successful season having already beaten their win total from a year ago.
If the Jets play merely .500 football the rest of the way, they will have 10 wins and a likely trip to the postseason.