Jets blow lead to fall to 0-4 in gut-wrenching loss to Broncos

The Jets finally showed a pulse on Thursday night. It was not enough for a win, but probably enough to keep head coach Adam Gase employed.

Gang Green lost their fourth straight game and are now 0-4 for the second straight season. They did not get blown out in this one, but fell on a late field goal by the Broncos, losing 37-28.

The Jets will regret letting this one get away as their schedule gets tougher from here.

Brandon McManus’ 53-yard field goal with 3:08 left in the game put the Broncos up in this battle of bad football teams. The field goal was set up by two third-down conversions from the Broncos. After the Broncos defense stopped the Jets, Melvin Gordon broke a 43-yard run for a touchdown and the exclamation point on this one. Denver is now 1-3.

The Jets looked dead after the Broncos took a 27-16 lead in the fourth quarter. But they cut it to 27-19 on Sam Ficken’s fourth field goal of the game with 11:44 left. Then Pierre Desir, who gave up two touchdowns, came up with a pick-six off of Brett Rypien to cut it to 27-25 with 10:45 left. It was set up by a pass rush from Tarell Basham.

The Jets failed to get the two-point conversion, though, when Gase called a predictable roll-out to Darnold’s right and there was no one open so Darnold threw an incompletion.

Rypien then threw his third interception of the game on the next possession, this one to Brian Poole. That gave the Jets the ball at the Broncos’ 44. The Jets moved the ball to the Broncos’ 19, but a Jamison Crowder third-down catch came up just short and Gase chose to have Ficken kick his fifth field goal to take a 28-27 lead with 6:23 remaining in the game.

Rypien, making his first start, got the ball back with just over six minutes left. Quinnen Williams sacked Rypien on third down to potentially end the drive, but was flagged for a face mask to give the Broncos life. It was the fifth of six personal fouls on the Jets in the game.

A few plays later on third-and-8, Rypien found Tim Patrick for a 31-yard completion to move the ball to the Jets’ 22. That set up a 53-yard Brandon McManus field goal that gave Denver the 30-28 lead.

Denver ended the Jets’ hopes with a fourth-down sack of Darnold, their fifth sack of the night.

Darnold went 23 of 42 for 230 yards and ran six times for 84 yards and a touchdown. Rypien went 19 of 31 for 242 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Darnold’s night began with a 46-yard touchdown run on the Jets’ first series. He somehow avoided a blitzing Alexander Johnson, escaped the pocket and then juked safety Justin Simmons on his way to the end zone. It was the longest run by a quarterback in Jets history. The run gave the Jets their first lead of the season, but it would not last.

It was the only touchdown their offense scored.

Rypien picked apart Gregg Williams’ defense for most of the night. Rypien moved the Broncos down the field on the first drive, aided by two Jets penalties, which would become a theme. Cornerback Bless Austin was called for pass interference on a third-down incompletion to keep Denver on the field. Basham then roughed the passer, giving the Broncos another 15 yards. The Jets had four personal fouls in the first half. In all, they had eight penalties for 83 yards in the half.

The Broncos’ drive stalled at the Jets’ 22 and they had to settle for a 40-yard McManus field goal to cut the lead to 7-3.

The Jets got their Darnold injury scare on the next series. Johnson blitzed again but did not miss Darnold this time. The Broncos linebacker slammed Darnold down on his right shoulder. He got up holding the shoulder. Darnold remained in for one more play before exiting the game. He was replaced by Joe Flacco.

The injury looked serious, like it was either a shoulder or collarbone injury, but minutes later Darnold emerged from the locker room and reentered the game.

The Broncos took a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter when Rypien hit rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy for a 48-yard touchdown over Desir.

Desir intercepted Rypien for the first of two times in the game to give the Jets the ball at their own 37. But they could not capitalize with a touchdown, only a field goal to make it 10-10.

Denver regained the lead just before halftime on a 1-yard Gordon touchdown run to go up 17-10. The Jets cut it to 17-13 on a nice 11-play two-minute-drill drive. They failed to reach the end zone again, though, settling for another Ficken field goal.

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