DENVER — Zach Wilson wasn’t careless with the football until the fourth quarter when the game was already long decided. He cut down on his mistakes, but his teammates picked up the slack in that category in a big way.
The Jets had a total team meltdown Sunday afternoon and were outclassed on both sides of the ball by the Broncos, 26-0, at Empower Field at Mile High.
Robert Saleh’s team is continuing a troubling trend. The Jets are 0-3 for the third straight season. What’s more disconcerting is their offense looks worse than last year when they were historically bad under Adam Gase.
All Gas, No Brake? Thus far, the Jets have been All Losses, No Progress.
"A lot of it was self-inflicted errors," receiver Corey Davis said. "We’re a good team. We got a lot of talent. We just got to put it together. That’s the most frustrating part. We know that we have talent.
"Zero points, we got too much talent for that."
The Jets haven’t scored a touchdown in two games. They also have failed to get in the end zone in the first half of any game this season. Wilson, who was sacked five times, didn’t go over 100 passing yards until the fourth quarter. The Jets continue to struggle converting third- and fourth-and-short.
Saleh and his coaching staff have been consistent in saying it would take time for the Jets’ offense to click. But they have looked inept for much of the 12 quarters they’ve played. The Jets have only scored 20 points all season and just three in the first half.
"It’s tough but it’s making us stronger," Wilson said. "I feel like it’s making me stronger. I didn’t experience it in college. The crazy thing is I knew it was going to be like this. It’s a process. People can hate all they want. What’s feeling sorry for ourselves going to do?"
After Wilson threw four interceptions last week against New England, Saleh wanted him to play "boring" and not try to do too much. Wilson did that for most of the game, but he didn’t get much help.
The rookie quarterback was 19-for-35 for 160 yards. He threw two fourth-quarter interceptions, giving him a league-high seven picks this season. But a few of his passes were dropped. Michael Carter had one in the first half and Ty Johnson had one go right through his hands on fourth-and-2.
Davis also had a couple he couldn’t corral. One came during what was the Jets’ best drive of the game, down 10-0, in the second quarter. On third down, Wilson was being chased and threw it downfield to Davis with Patrick Surtain covering. It hit Davis in the hands but he couldn’t come up with it.
"He just made a good play on it," Davis said. "That’s one of the plays that I have to make. I understand that. That probably would have changed the game. That’s definitely a play I have to make."
Making matters worse, the Jets still had a chance to get points that series. Matt Ammendola’s 56-yard field goal was good, except the Jets were flagged for a delay of game. They were forced to punt.
"What happened on that drive really shows what’s happening the whole game," Wilson said. "It’s us killing ourselves."
Davis had another quiet game overall. He caught just five passes for 41 yards. The Broncos (3-0) also kept the Jets’ running game in check, holding them to 43 yards on the ground - 109 fewer than last week.
The Jets’ defense took a step backward in this game also. Teddy Bridgewater was 19-for-25 for 235 yards with no interceptions. Melvin Gordon and Javante Williams each scored rushing touchdown for the Broncos, who ran for 122 yards in the game.
"We play hard," Saleh said. "But playing hard is not good enough sometimes. We got to be much more proficient, much more precise with the way we operate."
This game was over pretty quickly. The Jets were dominated in the first half, and trailed 17-0. Wilson was sacked four times, and the Broncos outgained the Jets 198-55. In the first quarter, the Jets minus-3 passing yards.
"We did not execute at a high level or really at any level that can help you win games in the NFL," right guard Greg Van Roten said. "We felt anemic in the first half."
The series after he field goal was negated, Wilson got no protection. He was sacked on first and third downs and chased out of the pocket on second and threw it away.
The Jets fell behind three scores on the next drive. Gordon punched it in from 1-yard out to make it 17-0. It was set up by a defensive pass interference on rookie Brandin Echols in the end zone on Courtland Sutton on third down.
"Everyone operating at a very high level, at a very precise level is what wins football games," Saleh said. "We’re missing that part of it right now and we got to get that one together quick."