Well, you (mostly me) can stop with the Trevor Lawrence talk for a while. The Denver Broncos came out with nearly half of their salary cap not suiting up to play and beat the New York Jets 37-28 on prime time.
In a wild Thursday Night Football game, anyone who ignored the memes making fun of these two teams were treated to a pretty fun game to watch. If you didn’t enjoy this one then you aren’t a fan of the NFL.
The Broncos third down defense couldn’t find a way to close out the drives. Alexander Johnson blitzed up the middle and nearly sacked Darnold, but he ducked just in time and took off for a 47-yard touchdown run to put the Jets up 7-0 early in the game.
If he's going to come on the blitz, Alexander Johnson has to make the tackle. pic.twitter.com/mjRmBJ3703— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 2, 2020
Not only Johnson on that play, both Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson were juked hard and also missed on a tackle early on in that play. The defense showed clear signs of missing chemistry and discipline in the first quarter.
Brett Rypien looked poised during the Broncos first offensive series, but most of the yardage came off the legs of Melvin Gordon and a couple of timely penalties. The drive would stall inside the red zone, but Denver got on the board with a Brandon McManus field goal to make the score 7-3.
On the Jets next drive they would be flirting with field goal range when Johnson would get another chance to sack Darnold. He got him that time and slammed him to the turf. Darnold landed hard on his shoulder and was knocked out of the game bringing in Joe Flacco to face his former team.
The Jets committed a couple more penalties to put themselves into a third and 30 where their drive would end. The punting unit would come out to start the second quarter.
The refs aided the Broncos on their next drive with a questionable roughing the passer call, but then from the 48-yard line Rypien unloaded down the field to Jerry Jeudy. The ball was terribly underthrown, but Jeudy was able to wrestle the ball away from the defender to back peddle into the end zone to put the Broncos up 10-7 in the first half.
Jerry Jeudy with his first NFL touchdown! pic.twitter.com/1hZULDYajT— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 2, 2020
Up until this point in the game, Rypien was a perfect 6/6 for 81 yards and a touchdown in the game.
Darnold came back into the game on the next series, but he was immediately sacked on his first play back by Bradley Chubb to end their drive in a three and out.
The streak ran out for Rypien on the next drive as an attempted throwaway ended up being intercepted by the Jets defense to set them up with good field position.
Brett Rypien still has not had a pass hit the ground in his NFL career.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) October 2, 2020
14/16 with 2 INTs.
The Jets were able to get into field goal range. They missed their 46-yard field goal attempt, but a personal foul penalty on Joseph Jones gave them a first down inside the red zone. The drive would stall inside the 10-yard line and the Jets wouldn’t miss that attempt to tie the game up at 10.
On the next Broncos drive facing a third and six, Rypien threw a perfect dime to Tim Patrick for a huge 40-yard gain to put the Broncos back in business again late in the first half.
Brett Rypien finds Tim Patrick on 3rd and long pic.twitter.com/ksKFKdob2o— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 2, 2020
The Broncos would cap the drive with a touchdown plunge by Melvin Gordon with less than two minutes to go to take a strong 17-10 halftime lead.
With a minute and half left in the second quarter, Darnold and Crowder hooked up for a couple of solid gains to get a late drive going. The Broncos defense would hold inside the red zone to force another Jets field goal to take a 17-13 lead into halftime.
Denver came out to start the second half with a three and out - their first of the game. The Jets took their first second half possession into field goal range and cut the Broncos lead to 17-16 with a field goal after their drive stalled in the red zone.
From there, Rypien continued to deal against a weak Jets defense. The next drive saw him lead the Broncos offense down the field with the big play being a big catch over the middle to Jeudy.
Broncos with a 3X1 with Tyrie Cleveland inside. Rypien finds Jerry Jeudy for the first. pic.twitter.com/e7jBKcQudk— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 2, 2020
He would cap the drive with a nice throw to Tim Patrick for an 11-yard touchdown pass. The third down pass was one of Rypien’s prettiest passes of the day to put Denver up 24-16.
From there the Broncos began to take control of the game. After stopping Darnold and the Jets on their next possession, Dionte Spencer broke loose on the punt return for a 42-yard return where the punter made a touchdown saving tackle after rookie wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland whiffed on blocking the punter.
Spencer with some really impressive balance and lateral mobility. pic.twitter.com/0LEjshXRTj— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 2, 2020
The quarter would end with the Broncos in Jets territory facing a third down and nine.
Rypien would complete a short pass over the middle short of the sticks, but it was enough to put Denver within the range of Brandon McManus who would boom a 54-yard field goal through the uprights in the rain to put Denver up 27-16 early in the fourth quarter.
With a sense of urgency down 11-points, Darnold and the Jets came out throwing on their next drive. The first pass hit Crowder who hauled in a great pass over Kareem Jackson for an immediate 36-yard gain. The drive stalled when Chubb got his second sack in the game to force the Jets to kick a field goal to keep the game a one score game at 27-19.
On the Broncos next drive, disaster struck as Rypien lofted a third down pass into triple coverage and the ball was easily intercepted and returned for a touchdown.
The two-point conversion failed to keep Denver’s lead in tact at 27-25. After a couple of promising plays, Rypien double clutched and that hesitation was all the defense needed to haul in another interception to put the Jets in position to score again.
Denver’s defense would hold, but the damage was done as the Jets kicked the field to take a 28-27 lead with just over six minutes left in the game.
Rypien shook off those previous two drives by putting together a comeback that was spearheaded by Tim Patrick’s play. Patrick was having a big night after a 31-yard reception on third down with six catches for 113 yards and a touchdown.
With this catch Tim Patrick has his first 100+ yard receiving game in the NFL. pic.twitter.com/uDIFNHyZSC— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 2, 2020
The drive would stall anyway after a couple of drops that included a terrible no catch from DaeSean Hamilton that should have been a walk-in touchdown. McManus would secure the lead back for the Broncos on a 53-yard field goal to put them back up 30-28.
De’Vante Bausby replaced a struggling Essang Bassey in this game and had been everywhere in the second half breaking up Darnold passes.
De'Vante Bausby has been a difference maker tonight. pic.twitter.com/vAcKtdrrHY— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 2, 2020
His critical pass breakup setup a fourth and three with 2:09 left in the game where Chubb would snag his third sack of the game to ice it for the Broncos.
Bradley Chubb with a fourth down sack! pic.twitter.com/Vil8IBSFCD— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 2, 2020
But Denver wasn’t done just yet as Melvin Gordon took the first half-off for 43-yards and a touchdown to put the game away for Denver.
If quarterback doesn't work out, Brett Rypien's looked like a better blocker than Nick Vannett send tweet. pic.twitter.com/rCOs53qGDU— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 2, 2020
Broncos 37, Jets 28.