Who ever said bad sloppy football couldn’t be entertaining?  Thursday night’s battle of winless teams between the Denver Broncos and the New York Jets definitely wasn’t anything close to good football, but for all the penalties and turnovers, the game still came down to the final minutes of the fourth quarter, where Melvin Gordon finally secured the Broncos first win of the year 37-28 over the hopeless, and undisciplined Jets.  

Denver was without injured starting QB Drew Lock and called upon Brett Rypien to make his first career start Thursday night and it looked like his first game under center as he threw 3 interceptions against the Jets. He had plenty of good moments too however, and for the night he completed 19-31 passes for 242 yards and 2 touchdowns along with the three picks. Sam Darnold was able to keep from turning it over, but he wasn’t much better on the night going 23-42 for 230 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.  Darnold did have one of the best plays of the night and probably of this whole season so far for the Jets, scrambling away from pressure on 3rd and 7 and taking off for a 46 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Jets. 

That was one of the few bright spots on the night for Darnold and New York, as the sloppy, and oftentimes dirty, Jets committed 11 penalties for 118 yards and were 0-3 in the red zone. In the second quarter Rypien and the Broncos answered with a long touchdown of their own, a 48 yard pass to rookie Jerry Jeudy who went up and snatched a would be interception right out of the hands of cornerback Pierre Desir. A Melvin Gordon touchdown run from a yard out later in the second, and a couple Jets field goals made the halftime score 17-13 Broncos.

Jerry Jeudy “Moss’d” Jets cornerback Pierre Desir for a touchdown Thursday. Photo Credit: John Minchillo

The Jets were again only able to muster a field goal in the third quarter, and another Rypien touchdown pass, this time to Tim Patrick, gave the Broncos a 24-16 lead heading into the fourth. That’s when both teams decided they didn’t want to win the game apparently, as both winless teams did just about everything they could to lose the game. Rypien threw a pick six to Desir, who redeemed himself for the rough night he had up until that point. The score brought the Jets within 2 at 27-25, and Rypien’s third turnover of the night and second in a row put the Jets in position to steal a victory from out of nowhere and they took the lead 28-27 on another field goal on the ensuing drive.

The Jets even looked for a second as though they were going to finally come up big on defense and get a stop when Quinnen Williams broke loose and sacked Rypien on third down, but he was called for a senseless face mask penalty that kept the Broncos offense on the field. Several plays later Denver retook the lead on a field goal 30-28 thanks to boneheaded penalties by New York.  On the Jets ensuing drive they did about what you’d expect and gave up a sack on 4th and 3 at the two minute warning giving the ball back to Denver. Of course rather than making a stand on defense, New York gave up a game-ending 43 yard touchdown run on the very first play to Melvin Gordon and that was all she wrote. 

The Broncos hardly deserved to win this game, but they made just enough plays when they needed to in order to get their first win on the year, and the definitely outplayed the Jets the majority of the game.  New York is now 0-4 and this was the first time all season they have been competitive at all, and it came against a back up making his first ever start, and all he did was try and give the Jets the game more than once.  

You have to wonder if this Jets team is one of the worst in history through one quarter of the season, and Thursday night might have been their best chance to get a win at all this year. If they can’t win against a first time starter who turned the ball over like it was his job, when will they get a win if at all? And how long will Adam Gase still have a job with his team looking completely undisciplined and careless game after game? Thursday night football has always been a little sloppy and isn’t always the best football each week, and the Jets and Broncos took that to a new level this week, but that doesn’t mean the game wasn’t still exciting to the very end. The Broncos will look to build on this win next week against New England, while the Jets will continue searching for anything to be excited about as they chase their first win against the surprising Arizona Cardinals.

Photo Credit: Seth Wenig AP

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