Fans may have to put Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson's faces on a milk carton. The Jets had just 8 rushing yards (on nine carries) in the first half and finished with 31 yards -- the lowest total under Rex Ryan. Worst of all: quarterback Geno Smith was their leading rusher (two carries for 11 yards). Believe it or not, Smith (23-for-43, 190 yards, two TDs) found the end zone before Peyton Manning, but the Jets' QB also threw a pick-6 that ended any chance of an improbable comeback win. Though rookie tight end Jace Amaro caught his first career TD, he also had a key drop (as did Greg Salas).
The bright side was Eric Decker, who caught a touchdown against his former club and finished with six catches for 54 yards
Muhammad Wilkerson and Leger Douzable each made a sack, marking the sixth consecutive multisack game for the unit this season. Ryan's defense got into Manning's head early, the group let the score get out of hand with two backbreaking drives. Behind Manning (three touchdown passes), the Broncos had scoring drives of 80 and 87 yards. And though the defense came alive in the fourth, the damage was already done.
Dee Milliner's Achilles injury put even more stress on the Jets' depleted secondary, which failed to record a takeaway. Kyle Wilson couldn't come up with an easy interception and instead let the ball hit off his leg.
The Jets released draft pick Jalen Saunders because Walter Powell appeared better equipped to handle return duty. But Powell fumbled a kickoff return and then muffed a punt that was recovered by Denver in the second quarter. Ryan Quigley, who has been tremendous of late, had punts of 34 and 36 yards. Nick Folk nailed a 30-yard field goal to pull the Jets within 24-10.
Give Ryan credit: He frustrated Manning early on with great play-calling. But as always, his team just couldn't adjust down the stretch. Meanwhile, the Jets' identity as a ground and pound team continues to disappear under coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.