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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — MetLife Stadium took after its name on Sunday. It was full of life.
The only problem was the New York Jets forgot to invite the Denver Broncos to the party.
In 60 minutes of play, the Jets’ offensive had a game for the ages — putting up 34 points, 512 total net offensive yards, 189 passing yards and a mind-boggling 323 rushing yards.
Moments after falling below .500 for the first time this season, Von Miller simply admitted “everything” went wrong for Denver’s defense.
“It was a rough one,” the team captain said dumbfounded after the team’s 34-16 loss.
The party didn’t break out until the second quarter, but once the Jets’ offense took motion it was flying at cruising speed the rest of the game, never allowing the Broncos a chance of slowing them down.
On New York’s first offensive play of the second quarter, Isaiah Crowell flew 77 yards to the house.
It was the longest run for the Jets since 1996 and the longest run the Broncos’ defense had surrendered since Dec. 2014.
“They didn’t tackle the guy. The free safety didn’t tackle him, either. So he goes for a long touchdown,” Broncos’ head coach Vance Joseph said, explaining what broke down on the defense to allow such a big play. “I’m not surprised he went the distance when no one tackled him. We had two guys unblocked.”
The first play of the second half wasn’t much different as Crowell steamrolled his way 54 yards.
Earlier in the week, Joseph warned of Crowell’s big-play ability, but that advanced knowledge did relatively nothing in stopping him as he had five touches that eclipsed 10 yards, including the 77-yard touchdown, the 54-yard run, a 47-yard run and a 36-yard run.
Entering Sunday, Denver had the eighth-best defense against the run, only giving up 93.8 yards per game.
The Jets entered their fifth game as the eight-worst rushing team, only racking up 88 yards on the ground per game.
The Jets had 122 rushing yards in the first 19 minutes on Sunday, making it the first time since 2016 the Broncos allowed 120-rushing yards in back-to-back games.
But that was just the beginning.
On 38 rushing attempts, the Jets racked up their 323 rushing yards on an impeccable 8.5 yards per carry. Bilal Powell was one yard short of giving New York two 100-yard rushers on the day.
“Oh wow,” Joseph said with surprise when asked what went wrong with Denver’s run defense. “Tackling. Fits. That was the most part.”
The Broncos’ defense allowed Crowell to enter New York’s history books as his 219 rushing yards was a Jets single-game record.
The 323 allowed rushing yards, on the other hand, was the fifth-most Denver’s ever given up in their proud franchise’s history.
But it wasn’t just the ground game that sliced and diced the Broncos’ defense, either.
Three plays after giving up the 77-yard touchdown on the ground, the Jets took flight on the long-gone “No Fly Zone” as rookie Sam Darnold connected with Robby Anderson for a 76-yard touchdown over Bradley Roby.
It was the longest passing touchdown the Jets have had since Vinny Testaverde connected with Leon Johnson back in 1998. Bradley Chubb was only 2-years old.
Before the half, the two connected again, and again it was over Roby.
“He has to obviously get better and we have to help him get better,” Joseph said, admitting Roby had a tough outing. “He’s got to play with confidence. That’s part of being an NFL starter — if they go at you and make a play or two you have to go back out there and battle. If you don’t, it looks like that.”
With Crowell racking up 219 yards on the ground and Anderson hauling in 123 through the air, it was only the second time in Jets history they’ve had a 200-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver in the same game.
All at the expense of defensive coordinator Joe Woods’ unit.
Yet, despite giving up 512 total yards of offense — the most Denver’s allowed since Peyton Manning ran the legendary bootleg against the Dallas Cowboys in 2013 — no changes will be made to Joseph’s defensive staff.
“Oh no,” Joseph said, followed by an uncomfortable laugh, when asked if he’ll consider making a change to the defensive coaching staff. “I don’t think we’re there. We’re sound schematically, but again, it always starts with coaching. We have to coach better so they can play better.”
This wasn’t just coach speak, either. The idea of shaking up his defensive coaching staff was so far-fetched for Joseph, it had to be asked twice after he responded to the first question with “As far as what?”
The head coach then shifted the attention away from the coaching staff.
“But we pay our players to play also. It’s not just coaching, it’s all of us involved,” Joseph stated. “I’m not going to stand up here after a loss like that and start blaming our coaches or our players. It starts with me and we have to coach and play better. Coaches coach and players play.”
According to the head coach, the same coaches that coached in New Jersey on Sunday will be coaching again next week when the Broncos host the undefeated Los Angeles Rams — a game Joseph says he feels “really good” about.
“We’ve got to coach and play better. And we will do that.”