It may have been ugly, but the Denver Broncos picked up their first win of the 2020 season after outlasting Sam Darnold and the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football. With a quarterback making his first NFL start, the Broncos found a way to win 37-28. As always, here is your Denver Broncos post-game recap and review, luckily this time it’s following a win!
In a Thursday Night game slated to be underwhelming, we saw a lot of offense from both sides, albeit neither played exceptionally “clean football”. The Jets and QB Sam Darnold got things started on Thursday night. On the first drive of the game, Darnold escaped an untouched pass rusher, slithered past a couple of tacklers, and found himself in the endzone for a 46 yard touchdown rush.
Brett Rypien, an undrafted free agent from Boise State in 2019, made his first career start on Thursday night. The nephew of former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien, made a good first impression. Rypien and the Broncos drove 70 yards in 10 plays, but failed to capitalize in the red zone and settled for a 40-yard field goal from Brandon McManus making it 7-3. After forcing a punt from the Jets, the Broncos had the ball yet again. A few plays later, Jerry Jeudy made arguably the play of the game stealing a 1-on-1 jump ball from CB Pierre Desir and waltzing into the endzone for a 48 yard touchdown. It was both Rypien’s first career passing touchdown and Jeudy’s first career receiving touchdown.
The Broncos, up 10-7, forced a three-and-out giving Rypien the ball back. To this point, Rypien had looked sharp but he threw an ill-advised pass instead of throwing the ball away and Desir got some redemption with a beautiful interception. The Jets were able to turn the interception into three points after an 11-play drive. Tied at 10-10, the Broncos offense got back to work. Rypien rebounded nicely after the interception and led a long drive that ended in a one yard Melvin Gordon touchdown run. However, the Jets were able to get a field goal right before halftime, making it a 17-13 game going into the break.
The Broncos started the second half with the ball, but the Jets forced a three-and-out. On the Jets next possession, they continued to close the deficit. Darnold, who was banged up earlier in the game, led the Jets into the redzone but settled for a 32 yard field goal. Only up one point, Rypien and the Broncos put together a 13-play 75-yard drive that ended in a perfect touchdown pass from Rypien to Tim Patrick. The Broncos and Jets would trade field goals following the Patrick touchdown, putting the Broncos up 27-19 early in the fourth quarter.
The next two possessions had the similar results for the Broncos. First, Rypien threw another ill-advised pass into triple coverage and Desir trotted into the endzone for a 35-yard pick-six. A few plays later, Rypien made another throw into a group of green helmets. This time Brian Poole came away with the interception and set up the Jets offense on Denver’s 44 yard line. Fortunately for the Broncos, the Jets were only able to get a field goal after the turnover. The Broncos quickly responded with a field goal of their own, making it 30-28 with just over three minutes left in the game.
The Broncos defense came up big at the end of the game. They forced consecutive fourth down stops to close out the last two Jets possessions. Gordon closed the game with a 43-yard touchdown run at the end to give the Broncos their first win in 2020.
While the game wasn’t pretty, it was a win for the Broncos. Granted they played the lowly New York Jets, who did everything in their power to lose this game. The Jets gave up costly penalties throughout the entire game, but never quit in this one. The Broncos escaped MetLife Stadium with a critical win on Thursday Night Football in the battle of 0-3 teams.
Welcome to our first game review after a win! Win or lose, we will outline 10 instant reactions from the Broncos game each week. Without further ado, let’s hop right in:
Brett Rypien: The Good:
The undrafted Boise State quarterback looked ready for his first career start, on primetime TV no less. The 6’2” stood tall in the pocket all night. With Gregg Williams bringing a lot of blitzes, Rypien was tasked with making plays under pressure from the start. Not only did he do just that, he didn’t take a sack in this game but did take his fair share of big hits. I was surprised with his calm demeanor and decision making (for the most part) on Thursday. While his performance certainly wasn’t perfect, we’ll get to that next, he did manage to finish the game 19/31 for 242 yards, two touchdowns, and most importantly – the win. Assuming that Lock isn’t ready next week, Rypien will have the inside track to starting in New England.
Brett Rypien: The Bad:
As promised, let’s jump into what Rypien wasn’t able to accomplish during his first career start. The biggest takeaway was his turnovers. As I mentioned, I was mostly impressed with his decision-making but there were three head scratching throws, which coincided with his three interceptions. The first should have been a no-brainer throw away, but instead he fired downfield and Desir was able to make a great catch along the sideline for the interception. Rypien then had two interceptions on two consecutive drives, both of which were bad decisions. It seemed like the Boise State product was a little fixated on his first read at times instead of working through his progressions. You don’t win many games when your QB throws three interceptions, but Rypien was able to overcome the bad and found a way to put points on the board.
Tim Patrick Breakout Game, Jerry Jeudy Mossed Desir:
Branching off of Rypien’s first career start, we need to talk about WRs Tim Patrick and rookie Jerry Jeudy. That duo will continuously need to step up without Courtland Sutton, plus KJ Hamler was sidelined for the entire second half with a hamstring issue. Patrick took full advantage of his opportunity. The Utah alum reeled in six of his seven targets for 113 yards and a touchdown. Patrick seemed to be Rypien’s security blanket all night long, and used his big body to help make things easy for the young QB. Rypien has had limited reps with the starters this year, but it seemed like his connection with Patrick was clicking. Jeudy also helped Rypien get his first win. Jeudy only finished with two receptions, but one of which was first career touchdown reception and one for the highlight reel. The Alabama rookie stole a jump ball from Desir and backed into the endzone. I’m sure you’ve seen the highlight by now, but if you haven’t make sure to see Desir get Mossed.
Bolles Continues to Impress:
Even though the offensive line didn’t give up a sack, they did allow a fair amount of pressure. Rypien had to be peeled off the MetLife turf on multiple occasions. That being said, Garrett Bolles held his own in this game. Not only was he solid against the Jets, but he has quietly been our best offensive lineman this season. I’ve been extremely hard on Bolles in the past, but he has impressed me this season. It’s obvious he worked hard this summer, probably with Offensive Line coach Mike Munchak, and is ready to quiet the doubters. Bolles progression may make Elway and Company regret opting out of his fifth year option this past offseason.
Bradley Chubb Just Keeps Getting Better:
Something that has come up every week is Bradley Chubb. While he is still working back from last season’s torn ACL, Chubb seemed to have his comeback game on Thursday. Chubb totaled three sacks and was constantly disrupting the pocket. He continues to hover just below 80% snaps played, but he continues to improve each week. Without Von Miller, Chubb was expected to do a lot for this defense and it’s starting to come along. It’s been exciting seeing Chubb get back to his pre-injury self, and I look forward to that continuing throughout the year.
Career Game From Josey Jewell:
Speaking of impressive defensive efforts, inside linebacker Josey Jewell had arguably his best game Thursday night. I’ve been a fan of Jewell since his rookie year, but his shortcomings have made me crazy over the last couple years. Jewell has struggled in pass coverage as he doesn’t seem to have the speed to challenge opposing RBs and TEs. The never aging Frank Gore didn’t give Jewell troubles on Thursday though. Not only did Jewell exceed in coverage, but he was rock solid in the running game per usual. The Iowa alum led Denver in tackles with 10 tackles (eight solos) and also tacked on 2 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. Let’s hope that this version of “The Outlaw” is here to stay.
De’Vante Bausby Moving Up The Depth Chart:
Another surprising defensive performance came from CB De’Vante Bausby. The 4th year veteran lost the third cornerback spot to undrafted rookie Essang Bassey earlier in the season, but Bassey was struggling in this contest. Bausby came in and provided a much needed lift to the defense, including having three pass deflections. I was impressed with Bausby last season before a scary head injury cost him the season. It will be interesting to see if Bausby or Bassey is the go-to guy next week.
Defense Brings The Heat:
Head Coach Vic Fangio has often been referred to as a defensive mastermind. While the fruits of his labor are still in the works, we did see a big adjustment from Fangio and the defense vs the Jets. The defense brought pressure, especially through blitzing. Fangio isn’t known to be a big blitzer and finds a lot of his success through disguised coverages. If you’ve been reading my reviews this season, you are well aware that I’ve been critical about the pass rush. Well, Fangio finally turned up the heat and made sure Darnold was uncomfortable. This is also a testament to the secondary that was able to cover while Fangio brought extra players on the blitz.
Brandon McManus Comes Through Big:
I’ve been saying that the special teams unit for the Broncos has left a lot to be desired the last couple of weeks.. While it definitely wasn’t a perfect game, I do want to highlight how well Brandon McManus was on Thursday night. The Broncos wouldn’t have won this game without the 7th year kicker. Not only was McManus perfect on his extra points, but he was also 3/3 on field goals. He made two field goals from 50+ yards out too. It’s always great to see McManus succeed and hopefully his impressive play carries on throughout the season.
Looking Forward to the Patriots:
Coming off the first win with a few extra days of rest, Broncos Country can relax on Sunday. That being said, a date with Bill Belichick and the new look New England Patriots is on the horizon for this battered Broncos team. It seems as though there is an outside chance that we could see Drew Lock back at the helm, and if he isn’t available I’d expect to see Rypien again. That being said, the Broncos do have Blake Bortles if they chose to go in another direction. As one might expect following a Broncos game in 2020, there is also some injury news to watch. Noah Fant left Thursday’s game on a cart, but hopefully the injury to his ankle isn’t sever. On the other side, the Broncos should get a big boost offensively as Philip Lindsay should be ready to go against the Patriots.
Let me know what you think of my game review and what you’re looking forward to watching next week vs the Patriots over on Twitter @gardenSPORTZ