The NY Jets emerged victorious over the Denver Broncos in their Week 5 meeting this past Sunday. Here are three things we learned in this week's Nathaniel Hackett revenge game.
1. Defense can carry team to wins
Everyone thought the same thing as soon as Aaron Rodgers went down: if Zach Wilson can just not be terrible, one of the best defenses in the league can carry this team to wins. That is exactly how Sunday's game played out. Denver’s success in the first half could only muster 13 points, and Wilson was able to avoid (most) catastrophic mistakes.
The Jets defense then took over. In five consecutive drives to begin the second half, they forced the Broncos into four 3-and-outs and a lost fumble.
It usually falls on the offense to close out games — bleeding the clock with the run game and converting third downs to sustain drives. The Jets almost did that, but when Zach Wilson was intercepted by Patrick Surtain II with just over two minutes left, the best unit on the team was called upon once again, and they delivered.
Jets defenders brought pressure nearly every play, and with less than a minute left in the game, the pressure finally broke the pipes. Quincy Williams got the sack and forced a fumble, and as the ball perfectly fell into Bryce Hall’s hands, Broncos fans could only watch in horror as the pride and joy of the Jets put a stamp on their second win of the season.
2. Thank God for Breece Hall
Breece Hall or Garrett Wilson? Deciding which is more valuable to the Jets' offense has felt like a difficult question, but with the former at full strength and the latter relying on the quarterback to get the ball to him, it’s hard to see how the Jets could ever survive without Hall.
Just like last year’s game in Denver, while the offense was struggling to get in rhythm, Hall’s big-play ability created instant offense. Long touchdown runs from the Jets running back (and strong performances from the defense) propelled them to victory two years in a row.
Of course, the Jets season began to go into the tank last year when they lost Hall. The opposing defense has to pay him so much attention that Zach Wilson’s job becomes so much easier.
Not only did Hall break a 72-yard touchdown run, but he also led the ground game on a drive that saw the Jets run the ball every play all the way down until they were facing 3rd-and-goal.
He is the engine of the offense, and that was on full display this past weekend.
3. The NY Jets coaching staff’s in-game adjustments made a huge impact
Nathaniel Hackett was back in the town that made him out to be a fool, and he came back to show them just what he is capable of.
Through their first four drives, the Jets offense had only managed 20 total yards. In their next four drives, they had 246. He saw what his players needed to be put in the best position to succeed, and they responded with some of their best offensive production of the season.
Even the defense had to adjust. Denver came out strong on offense, scoring on three of their first four drives. But their momentum was destroyed by Jets defenders, refusing to even allow a first down in the second half until there were only six minutes left in the game.
Sean Payton’s loud mouth wrote checks that his game plan couldn’t cash. Reasonable football fans would expect an experienced, offensive guru head coach could eventually point to something that would give his team an edge, but that never came. At all.
While the Jets seemed to get better on both sides of the ball as the game went on, the Broncos had no response. Their offense was stuck in the mud, and their defense could not get off the field.
Giving up 70 points in one game? Blowing an 18-point lead to the Commanders? And now letting a coach you think is a bozo come into your house and coach circles around you? It seems to me like Payton is on track for one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL.