Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter
Any lingering hopes of the Jets remaining in playoff contention were put to rest by a struggling Broncos team that was met with scant resistance in their 23-0 win. This continues a season-long pattern of futility on the road for this Jets team, which drops to 5-8 on the year and now seems destined to end up 5-11 for the season season in a row.
Let's start this week by breaking down the performances on the offensive side of the ball:
After breaking his hand in the second half, Josh McCown's season is probably over. It's been a career year for the veteran, who has done much better than expected. However, the offense struggled to get anything going yesterday as he completed just six passes for 46 yards before being knocked out in the third quarter.
It's possible he was also compromised by an earlier hip injury as he appeared to be limping around following a first-down scramble, which had knocked him out of the game for a few plays in the first half. When he returned, he immediately threw an interception on a play where he either didn't see, or failed to adequately look off, the deep safety.
Some fans have been calling for Bryce Petty to get some reps and they got their wish, although the Jets seemed reluctant to let him take any chances. He completed his first pass on a dump-off, but then only one of his last eight. He had no completions in the fourth quarter at a time when you'd think the Broncos would drop into a prevent-style defense, giving him a chance to establish some kind of rhythm. However, they barely tried, often running the ball on third down and punting on all, but one of their fourth down plays.
The fans will now likely turn their attention to Christian Hackenberg, who has a good chance of finally seeing his first action now that the season is essentially over. For now, we'll await confirmation of McCown's status.
The Jets completely failed to establish any kind of run game this week, with their backs combining to gain just 45 yards on 20 carries.
Bilal Powell led the way with 35 yards on 13 carries. Three of these went for first downs, including a third-and-short play where he dove for the pylon and got a generous spot. Out of Powell's workload, 10 of his 13 carries went for two yards or less.
Matt Forté picked up 34 yards on eight touches, although 14 of these came on a second-and-17 pass. That was actually the longest play of the day for the Jets, and one of just three 10-yard plays they had on the day. Forté also got beaten a few times in pass protection.
Rookie Elijah McGuire was in for just one play, on which he injured his ankle. The play was stuffed for a three-yard loss.
Fullback Lawrence Thomas didn't play as much this week, although he caught a short pass from Petty. The team fared much better in the Chiefs game when they ran the ball without a fullback in the game, but using the fullback less didn't seem to help matters on Sunday.
After all the hype during the week, Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse couldn't get anything done against the Broncos' excellent crop of cornerbacks. Anderson caught a first down pass in the flat, and made two juggling grabs on shorter passes. But, he also dropped one from Petty at the marker.
Kearse also had two catchable passes he was unable to bring in, and his only reception went for four yards.
Rookies Chad Hansen and ArDarius Stewart saw action again, but didn't contribute anything in the passing game. Stewart was targeted for just the second time since Week 6, but it was batted down at the line of scrimmage.
The three tight ends combined nicely to spring Powell on a first down run with Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Eric Tomlinson setting the edge, and Neal Sterling pulling right to make a good block on the move. However, they otherwise didn't make much of an impact.
Seferian-Jenkins was targeted twice in the flat on third-and-short, but one was incomplete and the other saw him tackled short of the marker in the open field. That was his only catch, and he has just 35 yards in three games since the bye. Sterling had a first down catch negated by a penalty.
After the offensive line drew praise for their performance last week, they really struggled on Sunday. Two protection breakdowns led to sacks that messed up the first two drives, and then a Kelvin Beachum penalty negated a pass play down to the fringes of the red zone - the Jets' deepest penetration of the game - and McCown threw an interception on the next snap.
As anticipated, Von Miller caused chaos off the edge, blowing past Brandon Shell with a nifty spin move for a sack. However, Beachum was also beaten by a couple of spin moves from Shane Ray.
The run game was also disappointing as the Jets tried several different approaches to running the ball, and didn't really have success with any of them, partly because guards Brian Winters and James Carpenter gave up too much penetration.
To his credit, center Wesley Johnson didn't have many bad blocks this week, although he had two bad snaps and there were a number of plays where defenders made plays unblocked into the backfield.
Finally, Brent Qvale saw action as a sixth lineman and the Jets were mostly ineffective out of those packages, but he made his block well on one play.