Brandon McManus made the clinching 34-yard field goal in the Broncos’ 26-16 win over the Jets on Sunday, but the game was marred by numerous turnovers that helped Denver advance to 3-1 for the season. On five occasions, the Jets’ offense squandered the chance to drive into Broncos territory, and the last, with the game poised to go into overtime, ended on a running-into-the-kicker penalty.
“I don’t know if I can say it’s the worst of the league because it’s not,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said of the game. “It’s a tough game. I guess I’m lucky I’m a competitor and I like to play games like that, but at the same time we just didn’t capitalize at crucial times.”
The Jets couldn’t take advantage of three short fields, though, which ended up being the difference in the game. The Jets were even stripped of the ball in the final seconds, resulting in Broncos safety Deandre Hopkins returning it 19 yards for the game-sealing touchdown.
“It was a tough way to lose that game,” Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa said. “We had our chances.”
After kicking a field goal to open the scoring, the Jets fell victim to an early-game penalty that pushed New York back to its own 37. A bad snap on a punt forced the Jets to punt, but they were able to climb out of a messy hole thanks to three Manning interceptions.
The Jets defense was able to force three Jets turnovers, though, as safety Jamal Adams stripped the ball from Emmanuel Sanders, linebacker Bruce Carter batted the ball out of bounds, and cornerback Trumaine Johnson tackled Sanders for a 6-yard loss.
Five plays later, Chris Herndon took a short pass on fourth down to the end zone, where he caught the ball under heavy pressure from Kevin Coyle. However, Johnson was flagged for running into the kicker and the Jets were unable to follow through with a two-point conversion.
Up 21-10 at halftime, the Jets started the second half with great field position when Marshall was brought down by Chandler Wade near the Broncos 5. However, the best look at a potential score was lost as the Broncos stuffed Bilal Powell for a loss of 1 yard and punted.
On the Jets’ next possession, they started from their own 46 and were able to move down the field, but then Brandon Marshall was stripped by Justin Simmons and the Broncos recovered.
The Jets continued to struggle to put together drives, though, and with just over six minutes remaining in the game they punted yet again. After a three-and-out, the Jets were backed up to their own 22. At this point, it appeared they were going to punt, but kicker Chandler Catanzaro missed a 51-yard attempt wide left.
Down three scores, the Jets finally got the ball back as New York started to drive on Denver’s defense. Six plays later, Baker Mayfield hit tight end Jeff Heuerman for a 29-yard touchdown pass, which gave the Broncos an insurmountable lead.