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Broncos Tally First Win on Thursday Night Football

The Denver Broncos were finally able to get over the hump with a 38-27 Thursday night victory over the New York Jets. Brett Rypien went 19/31 for 242 yards with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in his first career start. Melvin Gordon carried the football 23 times for 107 yards and 2 touchdowns, including the game-clinching 43-yard TD run.

For the Jets, Sam Darnold completed 23/42 attempts for 230 yards. He also ran the ball 6 times for 84 yards including a fantastic 46-yard touchdown run. Now that the major stats are out of the way, here are my three takeaways for Thursday night’s game.

  1. The Denver special teams units needs major help.

Thursday marked the third straight game where the Broncos special teams unit made a big mistake. In fact, they made multiple mistakes last night. First, in the middle of the second quarter, New York kicker Sam Ficken missed a 46-yard field goal, but two Broncos lined up over the center and proceeded to bowl him over resulting in an automatic first down. Luckily for Denver, the Jets would still end up settling for a field goal later on in the drive.

Second, there were a few different instances where solid Denver punt/kick returns were brought back by unnecessary holding penalties. Couple these mistakes with two blocked punts already this season and you get the subpar Broncos special teams. Denver should feel lucky that the Jets could not majorly capitalize off of these mistakes like the Steelers and Buccaneers did.

The only bright spot of the Denver special teams would be kicker Brandon McManus. McManus went 3/3 on field goals last night (40,54,53) and 4/4 on extra points. The veteran kicker is now 6/7 on field goals (3/4 from 50+ yards) and 8/8 on extra points in four games this season.

  1. The defense needs to be better but were still able to sack Darnold six times.

The Denver defense conceded 321 total yards and 28 points to one of the worst offensive teams in football. Both numbers were season highs for an extremely offensively challenged New York Jets team. It appeared that the Broncos would let New York drive up and down the field yet stood firm in the redzone. The Jets had to settle for three field goals on three redzone trips and were unable to convert a two-point conversion after the Pierre Desir pick-six.

The bright spot of the Denver defense Thursday night was the defensive line against the pass. Both Bradley Chubb and Josey Jewell tallied 2.5 sacks against a weak offensive line. I would now like to take this moment to reference my boiling hot take from just before kickoff. Also, if you do not already, follow my twitter it is @mseitz2001.

  1. The Broncos can survive with Rypien until Drew Lock is healthy.

Other than the four-play span where Rypien threw two interceptions, the rookie quarterback looked comfortable in the pocket and was executing accurate throws into tight windows. Rypien averaged almost eight yards per throw and that was done without both Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant, who left the game in the second half with an ankle injury. 

Tim Patrick appears to be the quarterback’s favorite receiver as he caught six passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. The 7-yard touchdown pass to Patrick was a bullet threaded between two Jet defenders to the back of the endzone. It was impressive to say the least.

Going forward, Rypien needs to improve on throwing to his second or third options because all three interceptions came on plays where he could not hit his primary target. Coupled with a successful run game, the Broncos could be able to stay afloat and alive for that final wildcard spot in the AFC until Drew Lock returns this season.

The Broncos take on the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Massachusetts next Sunday at 4:25 p.m.

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