Jets @ Broncos
Final Score: Jets 16, Broncos 9
Writer: Jason Wolf (@J_Wolf_picks on Twitter)
In what felt like the Denver Broncos’ first non-primetime matchup of the season, we were treated to subpar quarterback play, questionable coaching (as has become a staple in Broncos games), a boatload of penalties, and an unfortunate injury to Jets’ star RB Breece Hall. The game was tightly contested the whole way through with both teams wasting good field position numerous times in what felt like one of those games where the team who shoots themselves in the foot less wins the game. Even with 11 penalties and multiple injuries, the Jets somehow squeaked out an ultimately gritty and impressive win in a tough Denver road environment.
New York Jets
Zach Wilson: 16/26, 121 Yards | 4 Carries, 24 Yards
The Jets have done nothing but surprise and impress this year, especially since QB Zach Wilson‘s return to the starting lineup. The Jets have gone 4-0 since Wilson returned (including this game) and he has returned hope to the Jets’ franchise where there had long been none. Though the Jets haven’t lost a game, Wilson’s play hasn’t been all that impressive. This was never more apparent than in today’s game against the Broncos and their tough defense which severely limited Wilson’s playmaking ability and overall performance. Wilson finished with a terrible 4.6 YPA, about as good as his QB counterpart from the Broncos, undrafted FA Brett Rypien who threw 46 times for a grand total of 225 yards.
Wilson looked especially shaky at the beginning of the game, missing several receivers down the field when they were wide open, causing the Jets to stall on multiple drives in the first half. Wilson was facing regular pressure from the Broncos’ defense, making life hard on him and the vertical passing game but yet Wilson left much to be desired from today’s performance. On the very first play of the game, Wilson tried to force the ball upfield to a covered receiver, foregoing the open man right in front of him and missing out on a guaranteed 5-6 yard completion to start the drive. This instinctual aggression combined with his playmaking ability is exciting but it can lead to some low lows and some high highs in the ups and downs of a game (and season). At the end of the day today, he didn’t have a single completion that went for over 10 yards, and nearly every time he did look downfield, it was in a rush or the ball was misplaced. Wilson of course does flash on the eyes at times, mostly when he is on the run and making plays from out of the pocket or on the run.
— Harrison Glaser (@NYJetsTFMedia) October 23, 2022
Breece Hall: 4 Carries, 72 Yards, TD
Michael Carter: 13 Carries, 29 Yards | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 45 Yards
Rookie sensation RB Breece Hall continued to look like the best player on the field with the ball in his hands yet again, regardless of what team is taking the field vs. the Jets. Before he went down to injury, Hall had a beautiful 62-yard rushing TD which came off a simple but incredibly well-executed and blocked pitch play on which he made one cut to the outside and burst through both teams, running completely untouched on his way to another incredible display of Hall’s talent. He is an ultimate combination of power, speed, and elusiveness. He is one of those players where every time he gets the ball with a little bit of space, everyone holds their breath juuuust a little bit. Hall’s injury is a real shame as he is having not only an incredibly first year, but he was also surely on his way to having an absolutely monster game against the Broncos.
— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) October 23, 2022
This run came less than halfway through the first quarter so who knows what Hall’s final line could have looked like. The Jets clearly could have used him throughout the day as they struggled to consistently move the ball against the Broncos’ defense and they had no one on the field who looked like they could make a game-breaking play.
RB Michael Carter, who has been impressive in his own right this season came in and took the lion’s share of the RB touches after Breece Hall’s injury. Carter is a plus RB who could probably serve fine as the main RB on most teams but the difference between Hall and Carter is night and day, and that showed in Carter’s runs against the Broncos. Hall had 13 carries and not a single one went for more than five yards, with his longest carry of the day going for five exactly. Carter didn’t show as much as he usually does in the ground game today, but he did flash on one of his two receptions of the day. In the two-minute drill offense before halftime on a 1st & 25, Carter took a short pass from Zach Wilson two yards past the LOS and turned the corner and put the turbo jets on as he sped down the sideline passing not one but two Broncos defender for some monster YAC, totaling 37 yards on the play. That play alone made Carter the Jets’ leading receiver on the day, which should tell you everything about the quality of the passing game from the Jets today. Michael Carter is no Breece Hall but you could do much much worse in this case than having Carter as your backup bellcow RB.
— Good Times Sports (@GoodTimesSport) October 23, 2022
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Garrett Wilson: 5 Targets, 4 Receptions, 24 Yards
Braxton Berrios: 2 Carries, 27 Yards | 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 15 Yards
Corey Davis: 1 Target
Elijah Moore: 1 Trade Request, 1 Passive-Aggressive tweet, 0 snaps
Tyler Conklin: 6 Targets, 4 Receptions, 22 Yards
Rookie standout WR Garrett Wilson was pretty bottled up on the day, catching four of his five receptions for 24 yards. The numbers obviously don’t pop on the box score, but watching the game, it felt like Wilson made the biggest impact of the receiving crew even though he only caught four balls. One of his receptions was an incredibly impressive 6-yard reception where, coming out of his break, he was expecting Zach Wilson to deliver the ball high and away, toward the sideline. Instead, the ball came low and inside his body, and Garrett Wilson contorted his body nearly 180 degrees at full speed and somehow came down with the ball that was sure to be an incompletion.
— 🗽NYJETS🗽TWEETZ🗽 (@NYJETSTWEETZ) October 23, 2022
Braxton Berrios was again used as the Swiss army knife that he is, rushing for 27 yards on two carries as well as hauling in three receptions for 15 yards. On a day where nobody stuffed the stat sheet for the Jets receivers, Berrios played his part well as he always does, as he is highly efficient with his touches and today was no different when compared to the team’s production.
WR Corey Davis didn’t do anything receiving-wise before he left due to picking up an injury, but I just wanted to give a shoutout to Davis on the big Breece Hall TD run. Davis did an excellent job blocking and staying with it downfield, and that’s the kind of play that really wins football games and sometimes goes unnoticed and not talked about.
Elijah Moore didn’t dress due to him demanding a trade after being unsatisfied with winning football apparently (and something about the number of targets he’s getting?). TE Tyler Conklin was a consistent piece yet again for the Jets’ offense, operating in the short passing game as he has been the past few weeks. Conklin’s usage at the beginning of the year was a bit more creative but he seems to have been relegated to a more run-of-the-mill, security blanket TE role.
Brett Rypien: 24/46, 225 Yards, INT | 3 Carries, 9 Yards, 1 Fumble (Recovered)
Broncos starting QB / Head Chef Russel Wilson sat out this game after news broke that he had been dealing with a partially torn hamstring, meaning viewers of this game were blessed with watching Broncos’ sous chef / backup QB Brett Rypien take over the head chef duties in this week’s episode of Kitchen Nightmares, aka the Denver Broncos’ offense. Thanks to watching Russ Wilson “cook” the first six weeks, not much was expected out of Rypien coming into this game and yet he still managed to simultaneously both underwhelm in today’s game as well as leave an overall positive impression despite completely sub-par numbers. I don’t think anyone thought Rypien throwing the ball nearly 50 times was part of the Broncos’ gameplan, but the Jets dared Denver to throw and Hackett & Co. took the bait hook, line, and sinker.
Rypien showed throughout the day why he is a career backup; his limitations as a QB were on full display. Numerous times Rypien missed guys downfield due to sheer inaccuracy in the intermediate passing game. Rypien often locked onto his first read, making the jobs of Jets CB Sauce Gardner and the rest of the defensive backfield noticeably easier throughout the day. Rypien threw too many 50/50 balls into tight quarters, resulting in numerous batted passes and incompletions, and he put his receivers in poor positions (about to be blown up or needing to make YAC magic happen). Rypien averaged a paltry 4.4 YPA on 46 attempts, a result of Hackett’s poor play-calling as well as Rypien’s play. Several times on manageable 3rd & short situations, Hackett dialed up difficult route combos + long bombs to the outside where the Jets were winning the entire afternoon.
there legitimately wasn't a Broncos receiver within 25 yards of this Brett Rypien throw pic.twitter.com/7Ib7lG86bt
— Christian D'Andrea (@TrainIsland) October 23, 2022
To be fair to Rypien however, he was not all bad during the game. He had many nicely thrown balls into tight spaces in the short-intermediate passing game. When given the appropriate time in the pocket and receivers run clean routes, Rypien had no problem delivering on-time strikes to guys fighting 1-on-1 coverage. Broncos receiver Courtland Sutton also dropped a couple of catchable balls that would have gone down for some of Rypien’s biggest gains on the day. Rypien’s lone highlight came on a catch-and-run to WR Jerry Jeudy who was beyond wide open in the middle of the field, making Rypien’s throw to him a must-complete. The throw itself is nothing special but Rypien did nicely to deliver it. He stayed in the pocket, stepped up into the rush knowing he would get hit, and delivered the ball in stride to Jeudy who was able to do some solid YAC work due to the location of Rypien’s throw.
Live look at Jerry Jeudy pic.twitter.com/Q5ta1mPngZ
— IKE Packers Podcast (@IKE_Packers) October 23, 2022
Melvin Gordon III: 11 Carries, 33 Yards | 4 Targets, 2 Receptions, 17 Yards
Latavius Murray: 8 Carries, 24 Yards, TD | 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, -1 Yards
Mike Boone: 4 Carries, 23 Yards
Broncos RB Melvin Gordon‘s usage this year has been a complete anomaly, as he has both split carries with a much younger + athletically gifted back as well as taken a complete back seat to RB journeymen Latavius Murray and Mike Boone. No one really knew what to expect coming into this game, and any poor souls / fantasy managers invested in this backfield were probably left even more unsure of how to proceed after Melvin Gordon saw 11 carries and 15 total opportunities next to Murray’s eight carries / 11 total opportunities. There wasn’t much room on the ground to be had for the Broncos backfield against the Jets as both Gordon and Murray averaged a paltry 3 YPC. Eight out of Gordon’s 11 carries went for less than 4 yards and Murray’s longest run of the day was five yards. MGIII had a little more success in the air, grabbing two catches on four targets for 17 yards while Murray only saw poor quality dumpoffs on his way to -1 yard on two receptions.
Neither Gordon nor Murray look exactly explosive but it is Gordon who passes the eye test over Murray with the ball in his hands as he is capable of making things happen in the passing game and when given space by the offensive line (not the case today). Murray is a solid professional who can follow blocks and gain some tough yards but he’s a plodder at this point. He did nicely to punch in the TD from two yards out, something Gordon has struggled to do in the early parts of the year. If MGIII can get his fumbling issues under control then he should have no problems taking control of this backfield. Operative word: should. We’re dealing with Nathaniel Hackett after all; nothing makes sense and nothing is predictable with this man.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Jerry Jeudy: 11 Targets, 7 Receptions, 96 Yards
Courtland Sutton: 9 Targets, 3 Receptions, 23 Yards
Greg Dulcich: 9 Targets, 6 Receptions, 51 Yards
WR Courtland Sutton was most affected by the absence of starting QB Russ Wilson, having by far his worst game of the season on a 9 target / 3 reception day where he totaled just 23 yards through the air. Granted, Sutton does thrive off those 50/50 balls that Russ is (or was) famous for delivering like nearly no one else, so it makes sense Sutton struggled today. The factors were working against him as Russ was out, Rypien cannot reliably throw a deep ball, and he was also lost in the Sauce nearly all afternoon, as Jets’ standout rookie CB Gardner was draped all over Sutton throughout the game.
Though Sutton’s game script was negative from the jump, he also seemed to play a pretty poor game out there. Sutton dropped some catchable balls for his standards, as it seemed like the Jets’ defensive backs just wanted it a little bit more than the Broncos receivers (excuse the cliché), manhandling the Broncos receivers all game long. Several times I noticed Broncos receivers sitting on the top of their routes waiting for the ball to come to them while the Jets’ DB’s jumped the routes and got in the faces of the receivers to force breakups / incompletions. Yes, Sutton may have been held on the final 4th & 3 against Sauce Gardner but these are the types of 50/50 balls he is used to being expected to win, and he would even say so himself as after the game he was quoted as saying “It’s on me to go make that play. You’re giving me the opportunity to go make a play. The O-line sat in there and did their job. Everybody did their job for me to be able to go make a play.”
“Courtland Sutton got lost in the Sauce” 🔒pic.twitter.com/e5g9mikGZM
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) October 23, 2022
Jerry Jeudy had himself a fine day as Rypien’s de facto security blanket and go-to receiver, nabbing 7 receptions on 11 targets for 96 yards. Rypien can throw a ball in a tight space, and against this Jets team, that was something that was required often due to the consistent pressure he was facing all day. This worked to the favor of Jerry Jeudy, possession receiver extraordinaire, gaining little pockets of separation against the Jets’ non-Sauce Gardner secondary all day.
Jeudy ran the vast majority of his routes from the slot, doing nearly all his damage from there as well, including his 46-yard catch-and-run. After some questionable performances this season, Jeudy had a really nice bounce-back showing today in terms of his hands and responding to criticisms about him being able to catch the ball with his “body catch” technique. Jeudy made nice catches in traffic and in the middle of the field, and questions about his ability to regularly not drop the ball should be answered for now.
TE Greg Dulcich was active for his second career game and after catching a Touchdown in his first NFL game, he continued to make a nice impact in this one, hauling in six receptions on nine targets (second in yardage + targets only to Jeudy). Dulcich almost exclusively ran his routes in the short game, though he showed great poise and solid hands in managing to snag a pretty crucial 16-yard reception on a late 3rd & 6 with less than four minutes remaining in the game. Dulcich has seemingly come out of nowhere these past couple games but judging by the Broncos’ decision to make former #1 TE Albert Okwuegbunam a healthy scratch leading up to Week 7, it is fair to assume that Dulcich’s role in the offense looks to be safe for now.