The Jets rode another outstanding performance by the defense to their fourth-straight victory and fourth in a row this season away from MetLife Stadium. Denver's defense wasn't bad either, but the Green & White made the plays at key moments to up their record to 5-2, which is one more victory than the Jets had all last season and is the team's best start since 2010. And that was the last time the Jets advanced to the postseason -- and according to statistics from the NFL, since 1990 teams that began the season 5-2 made the playoffs 75.5% of the time, or 148 of 196 teams. The win, however, could prove to be costly because of injuries to rookie RB Breece Hall, OL Alijah Vera-Tucker and WR Corey Davis.
No. 1: Breece Lightning
Midway through the first quarter, rookie RB Breece Hall took a pitch from QB Zach Wilson, cut to his left, and slipped between blocks from WR Corey Davis and OL Duane Brown. From there, Hall veered slightly to his right, setting up a key block by WR Denzel Mims (who was playing in his first game this season) and motored past a diving Denver S Justin Simmons to a 62-yard TD jaunt. Hall later sustained a knee injury that forced him from the game. Hall was on pace for his second straight 100-yard rushing game (he had 72 yards in less than one quarter), something that hasn't been done by a Green & White rookie in the regular season since Clark Gaines in 1976.
No. 2: Legatron Does His Thing
With a bit more than 3 minutes left in the first half and Denver leading, 9-7, the Jets embarked on a 10-play, 48-yard drive that ended with K Greg Zuerlein nailing a field goal from 45 yards out at windy Empower Field at Mile High as time expired in the first half. (The wind at the same end of the field pushed Denver's point after touchdown wide right late in the first quarter.) So far this season, Zuerlein has made 13-of-15 field-goal attempts (he's converted 12 of his last 13 tries). He added two more in the second half, the only points scored in the final 30 minutes.
No. 3: Joyner Snags an Interception
The Jets were hanging on to a 10-9 lead late in the third quarter when Denver had a first down at its own 42. DL Quinnen Willliams burst through the line and was closing in on QB Brett Rypien as he released a pass intended for TE Greg Dulcich. The pass was badly underthrown and S Lamarcus Joyner was there for the pick. He returned the INT 27 yards to the Denver 37-yard line. Seven plays later Greg Zuerlein converted a field-goal attempt from 33 yards to up the score to 13-9. Joyner's pick, his third of the season, was also the Jets' eighth of the season after the team had seven in all of the 2021 NFL season.
No. 4: Mann and Echols Combine to Pin Broncos Deep
Before Sunday's game, Braden Mann had punted 28 times without sending a kick into the end zone for a touchback. That streak ended at Denver, but Mann -- with an assist from second-year CB Brandin Echols -- buried the Broncos at their 1-yard line early in the second quarter. The punt came at the end of a Jets three-and-out series that stalled at midfield. Mann's boot bounced at about the 10-yard line. Echols, who has emerged as the gunner opposite special-teams wizard Justin Hardee, was there to meet the ball and down it a few inches from the goal line.
No. 5: More Hot Sauce, Please
With two minutes left in the fourth quarter and the Broncos facing fourth-and-3 from the Jets' 25, Denver quarterback Brett Rypien caught a glimpse of WR Courtland Sutton, who had appeared to have a step on CB Sauce Gardner in the end zone. But the long, tall, speedy rookie (who led the Jets with 10 tackles in the game) again showed he is not merely any rookie cornerback. Gardner, the No. 4 overall pick in April's NFL Draft, quickly recovered and knocked the ball out of Sutton's grasp.