The Denver Broncos spent a soggy Sunday afternoon stampeding over the New York Jets on their own field. Jay Cutler threw for over 350 yards, and rookie Peyton Hillis ran for over 120 as the Broncos effectively attacked the Jets from all angles.
While everyone knows how explosive the Broncos’ offense is, it was their defense that caught New York completely off-guard.
They played strong, fast, and refused to truly break—denying New York the opportunity to turn the game into a shootout on hostile territory.
The Jets started the game poorly, and never had an opportunity to execute a gameplan as they were forced to play from behind from the first quarter.
Thomas Jones did everything he could with his two-touchdown performance, but it was never enough. Denver outplayed New York, and muscled their way to a decisive 34-17 win.
Can We Abandon the Wildcat Already?
So the formation is a fun one. The opposing defense is knocked off balance when the quarterback is lined up as a wide-out, and a quick, multi-purpose athlete takes the snap for an option play. It’s a blast.
But it’s not a shocker anymore.
It’s either going to be an option, or a reverse. In New York’s case, it was an early game-changing fumble.
The first offensive drives for the Jets and Broncos ended in punts. But a botched flip on a reverse to Jerricho Cotchery from the Wildcat formation only resulted in a deflating blow to the Jets.
Cotchery fumbled the toss, dove to recover it, and Vernon Fox ended up taking the slippery pigskin to the end zone.
This is not an effort to take anything away from Denver and the great game they played—but can anyone explain why that fumble was not reviewable?
Jerricho Cotchery fell on the ball, had possession, and it slipped out from underneath his body after the Denver Broncos landed on top of him.
Shouldn’t that have been a dead ball? Cotchery had possession and was down by contact.
If the review was inconclusive, that’s fine—but a controversial play that resulted in points for Denver should’ve had another look.
Fake Injuries: They’re the New Timeout
Was that harsh?
So maybe the Broncos were legitimately hurt when they stayed on the ground after a play. But it’s got to be questioned when it happened every single time Brett Favre tried to get his team into a hurry-up, no huddle offense.
Some of the hits looked legitimately painful after the replays, but every time?
The Broncos defense played well-enough to stifle any momentum the Jets would’ve liked to establish. But it’s got to be more than a coincidence that a Broncos’ player was writhing in pain after the Jets converted crucial first-downs.
If they were legitimate, it’s got to be a question of the Broncos’ conditioning program. It was a slippery field, but the injury timeouts were excessive.
Either these guys aren’t being taught to tackle properly, or they’ve discovered a new way to slow an offense down.
Stats Mean Nothing—Any Given Sunday
The New York Jets looked like a team that didn’t respect the Broncos. It was as if they saw the stat book and how bad they were on defense, and expected to have their way with an inferior team.
Winning two games on the road against good defenses can do that. But Denver didn’t get that memo.
They allowed Thomas Jones to speed away on a 59-yard touchdown run, but the defense refused to break consistently.
Leon Washington was neutralized for most of the game until Brett Favre found him in the second-half on screen passes.
The Jets and their strong run-defense was handled by the Broncos offensive line as Peyton Hillis squeezed through for tough yardage. He converted first-downs, and kept the Jets offense off the field.
Denver played football like they were the New York Jets.
The game was never close. The Broncos did enough to leave the Jets confused, hopeless, and soaked in the cold rain.
Life is Still Good in Jets’ Land
Losses suck. No one likes watching their team lose—it’s not fun.
But it’s not the end of the 2008 season as we know it. The New York Jets still sit comfortably in first-place of the AFC East, and still sit behind the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoff race.
The beating the Pittsburgh Steelers put on the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium secured the Jets’ division lead for at least one more week.
The Jets will be out in San Francisco next Sunday to take on the 49ers. While it’s never a good idea to look ahead and count victories, this is a game New York should win—no matter how much the 49ers have improved in recent weeks.
It’s a good team to try and bounce back against—think: Tennessee Titans and Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving after the Jets handed them a decisive loss.
Yes, the loss does hurt. But New York is still in a strong position to control their own destiny, and have a strong playoff run.