East Rutherford, New Jersey – It was sloppy and downright ugly at times. It was a victory, though, and Vic Fangio and the Denver Broncos are relieved to finally get one — no matter how it looked.
Melvin Gordon sealed the Denver Broncos’ first win of the season with a 43-yard touchdown run with 1:48 remaining, and the defense made just enough plays in the fourth quarter to beat the bumbling — and still winless — New York Jets 37-28 on Thursday night.
“Winning has cured more ills than penicillin,” said Fangio, who was feeling the heat along with his team while facing the prospect of a second straight 0-4 start.
But the Broncos (1-3) came out on top in a penalty-filled but strangely entertaining game between two of the NFL’s worst teams.
“It just makes you hungry for the next win,” said Bradley Chubb, who had 2½ of Denver’s six sacks.
And this one swung with a late mistake by New York’s defense, which was plagued by bad plays all night.
On third-and-6 and the Jets leading by one in the fourth quarter, Quinnen Williams sacked Brett Rypien – but grabbed the quarterback’s helmet and prolonged the drive. Seven plays later, Brandon McManus kicked a 53-yard field goal to give Denver a 30-28 lead with 3:08 remaining.
The Jets couldn’t do anything on their next possession, and Sam Darnold was sacked by Chubb on fourth-and-3 at the two-minute warning. Gordon ended New York’s chances with his long rumble that sent the Jets to consecutive 0-4 starts for the first time in franchise history.
The heat on coach Adam Gase’s seat will surely be turned up after this latest embarrassment, but no coaching change is imminent. New York was penalized 11 times, including six personal fouls.
“We had multiple chances to get off the field,” Gase said. “We beat ourselves. The penalties are just … they’re brutal.”
Fangio directed some of his players to head to the locker room as the game ended, and the coach didn’t meet with Gase for the customary postgame handshake.
“There was just a couple of personal fouls there at the end and our sideline was getting (ticked) off about it,” Fangio said. “I just wanted to avoid any confrontation at the end of the game and having it get ugly there.”
The Jets were actually in position to win after Pierre Desir, having a rough game in coverage, redeemed himself a bit by picking off Rypien – whose arm was hit by Tarell Basham as he threw – and returning it 35 yards for a touchdown. Darnold’s pass into the end zone on the 2-point try was incomplete, leaving the Jets trailing 27-25 with 10:45 remaining.
Brian Poole intercepted Rypien, making his first NFL start, on the Broncos’ next possession, giving the Jets the ball at Denver’s 44. That led to Sam Ficken’s fifth field goal, a 36-yarder that put New York ahead 28-27 with 6:28 remaining.
“It’s definitely frustrating to come out here and lose another one,” said Jamison Crowder, who had seven catches for 104 yards in his return after missing two games with a hamstring injury.