New York Jets 0 – 23 Denver Broncos
There is a great quote in the classic rockumentary “Spinal Tap” – It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever
While not changing a huge amount the Broncos halted an eight game losing streak with a shutout of the Jets, a fine line indeed.
The defence was still good, the special teams played a tidy game and a few of the errors that had derailed the offence were turned into positive plays.
That was it, but it produced a night and day difference in attitude and confidence.
It has been evident for weeks now that the Broncos take the field with a fragile sliver of confidence and once it is broken the game goes downhill fast. This week the opening possessions did the opposite of breaking that confidence.
The first drive saw CJ Anderson hit behind the line on third down, but he bashed and dragged defenders for the first down, avoiding what would have been a disheartening three and out.
Then Trevor Siemian eschewed an obvious check-down and hung in the pocket to deliver a lovely pass to Demaryius Thomas for a first down. Siemian then hit Cody Latimer for a big gain.
Failing twice to find Jamaal Charles, the Broncos were forced to settle for a field goal.
On the Jets first possession, Brandon Marshall came up with a tackle for loss and then a strip sack, giving the ball straight back to the offence in great field position. Siemian passed under pressure to Demaryius Thomas – who was being held – for the touchdown.
What a difference a start makes; run established, primary receiver dominating, quarterback confident and opposition rattled.
Shelby Harris chipped in with a sack on the next Jets drive, forcing a punt. Thomas again showed up with an excellent high catch before Siemian escaped the pocket, ran and dived for the first down.
The ensuing field goal was missed, but the offence had no time to mope about it as Darian Stewart came up with an interception.
After that interception we saw where the fine margins rally come into play, Siemian was flushed out of the pocket and rather than force something he sensibly threw the ball away. The next pass hit his receiver in the hands and popped in the air, unlike last week where the exact same situation led to an interception, this week the ball fell harmlessly to the ground – punt.
The first Broncos drive of the second half got everybody involved; Taylor with a nice punt return, Emmanuel Sanders popping up on the sideline, Cody Latimer delivering yards after the catch, CJ Anderson dragging defenders and it was all capped off by fullback Andy Janovich getting in for the touchdown.
From that point on, the offence essentially went into hibernation, exchanging 3 and outs with the Jets the rest of the way.
There was just time for something we had been missing for a lot of weeks; Von Miller dancing.
Von got a sack and celebrated and then even danced after a tackle for loss. Certainly indicative of a happier team.
Some fans are almost disappointed with the victory, thinking it damages the Broncos draft position. I don’t agree for three reasons.
1: Losing is a habit that is very hard to break, you need to play to win and take the joy and confidence that comes with it.
2: The fans (and sponsors) pay to watch the team try to win.
3: The draft is a lottery anyway, what good is sacrificing your culture and fans’ enjoyment for what could turn out to be a bust?
Nobody believed that this had become a bad team overnight, but I think there had been a fear that they were somehow irreparably broken.
A decent start and a few pieces of luck allowed the aforementioned sliver of confidence to blossom and brought joy back to the Broncos faithful. Will it continue, who knows, I’m just glad that losing streak is over.