By Rick Brown
The Denver Broncos (4-9) got off to a fast start against the New York Jets (5-8) this Sunday. The Broncos offense finally scored a touchdown in the first quarter and the team moved the ball well. The Denver defense also did their part by forcing two turnovers and keeping the Jets offense scoreless through halftime.
Earlier in the week, the Broncos were criticized for holding practice indoors and also cutting practice early, but whatever the team did paid off as Denver was able to shut out the visiting Jets 23-0 to snap an eight-game losing streak. Here’s a look at the Broncos team grades after that performance.
On Offense – B
The Broncos offense was firing on all cylinders from the get-go as Siemian and Demaryius Thomas connected for five passes and a touchdown. Siemian did a good job of distributing the ball as he threw to seven different players on Sunday.
While the offense did not create any big plays, the team played mistake-free football and scored 23 points on the way to the team’s first victory since October. Denver was able to protect the ball and prevent turnovers, and the offense did a great job of extending drives by converting on third downs and was 7-17 for the game.
Thomas had a big game and finished the day with eight catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. It was an especially great day for the wide receiver as he made history, moving into second place for the Broncos’ all-time receiving yards record.
On Defense – A+
While the offense did such a great job controlling the clock, the defense took it one step further and held the Jets scoreless. The Broncos defense came to play. In the first half, Adam Gotsis was able to recover a fumble and Darian Stewart caught an interception as the Broncos defense forced two turnovers through the first two quarters.
The Jets had problems converting on third down and could not protect Josh McCown. The Broncos were able to deliver four sacks on the New York quarterback. The defense also did a good job of containing the Jets’ rushing attack.
Overall, the Jets only racked up 100 total yards on offense. This talented Denver defensive unit was finally able to let loose and completely dominated.
Special Teams – B
The special teams performed well, but was not without mistakes today as Brandon McManus went 3-4 in field goal attempts. The return of Jordan Taylor was a good choice, as he did not turn the ball over and did a good job at returning punts. Other than the missed field goal, the special teams had a decent showing. The Broncos only punted the pall four times, but Riley Dixon did a great job with field position.
Coaching – B
The coaching staff had a simple plan and the team was able to execute it well. The first step toward success was to remove Isaiah McKenzie from returning punts. The Broncos coaching staff wanted to come out and run the ball and control the clock, and Denver racked up more than 37 minutes in time of possession. The Broncos finally showed up and played a complete game to win their first match-up since October. This was also a great example of a full team effort put forth by the Broncos.
The Broncos have a short week when the team travels to play the Indianapolis Colts (3-10) on Thursday night. The Colts will be looking to rebound after losing a close one to the Buffalo Bills (7-6). Neither of these teams are having great years, but both are still playing hard, so hopefully the match-up will make for a good contest.