With so much riding on this game surrounding Sean Payton’s preseason comments and the comeback win last week, it felt like this was a game where the Broncos could really turn the tide of their season at home to a struggling Jets side.
In reality, it was a watershed moment for all the wrong reasons and Broncos country is starting to feel that all-too-familiar disappointment once again before the leaves have even started to fall off the trees in autumn.
So here it is, four takeaways from the Broncos’ loss to the New York Jets.
Worst the offence has played this season
In the opening four weeks a lot of blame was levelled at the defence, for good reason, however, this week, the offence took the reigns.
The defence was getting stops in the first half and if it hadn’t been for a bad safety in the first quarter, the Broncos would have been in an even more dominant position heading into halftime.
In the second half the offence completely fell apart, with four three-and-outs and a fumble culminating in minus eight total yards of offensive production in the second half until a 60-yard touchdown drive to make the score 24-21.
The defence managed to come up clutch late in the fourth quarter with an interception but once again the offence failed to fire and Russell Wilson fumbled the ball to Bryce Hall who iced the game, returning it for a touchdown.
The offensive woes were highlighted when the Broncos gained good field position from a special teams play from their own punt and two snaps later, the Jets regained possession due to a poorly executed end-around double pitch.
Hopefully, it’s a blip and the offence will return to their levels from the first four weeks, if they hope to even lay a glove on the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football, they’ll have to.
Defence inconsistent again
The defence carried their late-game momentum from last week into the opening stages of this game against the Jets.
In the first half, the defence held Zach Wilson and the Jets to 20 total yards of offence in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Jets started to move the ball better but once again the Broncos’ defence held them to only three points.
In the second half though, they couldn’t stop the Jets from moving the ball, particularly Breece Hall who notched 177 rushing yards and a touchdown.
The pass rush got home four times and Patrick Surtain II picked off Zach Wilson to give the Broncos the ball back with time running down to go ahead but the offence couldn’t capitalise.
After the year the defence has had, Sunday was encouraging, however, the inconsistencies were still frustrating to see.
Payton ate his words
Sean Payton’s comments about Nathaniel Hackett’s head coaching job in Denver last year are common knowledge now among anyone who follows the NFL.
On Sunday, Payton was made to eat those words, the loss doesn’t change the past but it certainly raises questions about how much of last season was on Hackett.
The offence has undoubtedly looked better under Payton than it did under Hackett but in general they still appear to be a poorly coached team.
Is that hangover from the last regime? It’s unlikely because there are plenty of new faces in the building.
One thing is for certain, after the comments he made Payton made himself a target especially heading into this game, and it spectacularly backfired on him.
The fire sale has begun
On Monday, NFL insider James Palmer suggested that a fire sale of Broncos talent may commence soon in light of the team’s 1-4 record.
It’s no surprise that the team are looking to start a rebuild again and with the current salary cap situation and the lack of draft capital, it seems trading assets away is the only option.
It’s highly unlikely that the Broncos will be worse than the Chicago Bears and the Carolina Panthers this season, at the very least, so the number one overall pick and therefore Caleb Williams seems like a pipedream.
Despite that, Russell Wilson’s play hasn’t been the reason the Broncos are 1-4 so would a quarterback really be the target?
Albeit, the Broncos certainly have tradable pieces on offence and defence so if Payton and general manager George Paton believe that’s the way they want to go then they could definitely receive a lot of capital in return.
Week 6 TNF preview
It doesn’t get any easier for the Broncos, next week, a trip to Arrowhead awaits to play the formidable Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night.
The Broncos have lost 15 straight against their AFC West rivals and the Chiefs have started the season hot, despite not being wholly convincing.
The Chiefs sit at 4-1 and are on a four-game win streak after their loss to the Detroit Lions on the opening night of the season.
The Broncos slipped to 1-4 and are once again gearing themselves up for a winter bereft of playoff football and more top-ten draft selection talk in springtime.