Broncos throttle Jets 26-0 for first 3-0 start since 2016
Win could prove costly, with 3 more Broncos going down to injury
The Associated Press
DENVER — Von Miller led a Denver defense that sacked Zach Wilson five times, intercepted him twice and limited the rookie to 160 yards passing in the Broncos’ 26-0 win over the New York Jets on Sunday.
Denver is off to its first 3-0 start in five seasons thanks in part to a soft September schedule. But the victory could prove costly: the Broncos lost three more players to injuries, giving them seven so far.
The Jets (0-3) became the third NFL team to lose a dozen consecutive games in September, joining the 1994-97 Saints and the 2007-10 Rams, who hold the record with 13 consecutive losses in the month.
Alexander Johnson had two of Denver’s sacks of Wilson, the second pick in the NFL draft last April. Last week, the Broncos held the top overall selection, Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, to 118 yards on 14-of-33 passing.
Wilson was 19 of 34 and was picked off by Justin Simmons and Caden Sterns in the fourth quarter. The Jets also turned it over on downs twice.
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Teddy Bridgewater completed 76% of his passes — 19 of 25 — for 235 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
Offensively, the Broncos got 1-yard TD runs from Melvin Gordon III and rookie Javonte Williams but Williams also fumbled at the 1 and had a mix-up on a handoff from Teddy Bridgewater on another play from the Jets 1.
Broncos guards Dalton Risner (foot) and Graham Glasgow (left knee) and speedy wide receiver K.J. Hamler (left knee) were all injured on a sun-splashed Sunday in front of the first capacity crowd (75,882) since 2019 at Empower Field at Mile High.
A week after throwing four interceptions against the Patriots, Wilson was picked off by Simmons in the waning minutes and also turned it over on downs at the Denver 25-yard line and at his own 41. With 30 seconds left, Sterns picked him off to seal the shutout.
Four of the sacks came in the first half when the Broncos built a 17-0 lead and limited the Jets to just 55 yards, 13 of which came on a run by Ty Johnson just before he and his teammates trudged through the tunnel.
On New York’s previous drive, Wilson was sacked by Shelby Harris on first down, pressured into a throwaway pass by a hard-charging Malik Reed on second down and smothered by Miller, who has four sacks so far, on third down.
The Broncos got off to their typical slow start, punting from midfield on their first drive. They’ve now gone an NFL-long 22 straight games without an opening-drive TD since Drew Lock threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Noah Fant against Houston on Dec. 8, 2019.
Williams scored from a yard on Denver’s next drive and Brandon McManus made it 10-0 on the first play of the second quarter. Gordon’s 1-yard TD run came with 56 seconds left before halftime.
The Broncos had trouble with their guards on that drive. Glasgow, who missed last week with an irregular heartbeat, had a holding call that wiped out a big run by Gordon and Risner was whistled for taunting the Jets after Gordon bulled his way into the end zone.
Jets cornerback Justin Hardee was flagged for taunting when he jawed at returner Diontae Spencer. The NFL has emphasized taunting this season and had thrown 11 such flags coming into Sunday.
Next up for the Broncos is a home game against the Ravens on Oct. 3.