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Jets didn’t adjust offensively in blowout loss to Broncos

Broncos cornerback Chris Harris breaks up a pass

Broncos cornerback Chris Harris breaks up a pass intended for Jets wide receiver Jermaine Kearse on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017 in Denver. Credit: AP / Joe Mahoney

The Jets produced only 100 yards of total offense in their 23-0 loss to the Broncos on Sunday. It was a season low in yards and the second-lowest offensive output in franchise history.

It was a surprisingly poor output from the offense given quarterback Josh McCown was having a strong season and the two wide receivers, Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse, were coming off back-to-back 100-yard games.

The lack of adjustments seemed to be the major problem for the Jets on Sunday, something that surprised Kearse.

When asked why the Jets didn’t make adjustments in the second half, Kearse said, “I would like to think that would be the plan,” Kearse tied his career low with one catch for 4 yards.

Kearse said the Broncos employed a safety deep to prevent the one-on-one coverage Anderson had been getting in previous games. The Broncos also used an extra cornerback to shade close to either Anderson or Kearse, making it harder for McCown to complete passes. Kearse called it a type of “bracket coverage” that gave the offense fits.

Of course, the Broncos start talented corners Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib, who made it difficult to get the passing game going. The running attack was slowed when Elijah McGuire went down with an ankle injury on the first carry of the game. The Jets were down to two running backs, Matt Forte, who is playing with a balky right knee, and Bilal Powell.

McCown faced too much pressure from the Broncos’ front and was knocked down five times and sacked four times.

The lack of adjustments given the coverages the Jets offense saw was disappointing.

“No flow, we got stuck in third-and-long situations,” Kearse said. “We had [six] first downs. On third down, you get into those long down and distances, it’s hard to convert and you start getting three and outs and it’s an uphill battle from there.”

What was also upsetting was Todd Bowles’ lack of confidence in the offense.

Toward the end of the first half, instead of using some timeouts when on defense to give his offense the ball back with about a minute to play, Bowles elected to let the clock run out. Bowles’ team took a knee with 32 seconds left in the first half.

Bowles said McCown was nicked up on a previous series and given his team was getting the ball to start the second half, taking a knee made sense to Bowles.

“At the rate we were playing,” Bowles said, ‘we needed to go in and regroup.”

It didn’t get better in the second half as McCown went down for good with a broken hand in the third quarter. The offense didn’t improve with Bryce Petty.

Petty completed just one pass in the second half and finished his outing 2-for-9 for 14 yards. Again, Bowles had an opportunity to let his third-year quarterback direct the offense down the field. But in the last two minutes of the game, the Jets ran three run plays with Powell, who gained only 1 yard.

Bowles said he didn’t see the need to run any more pass plays given the struggles of his offense.

After watching the tape on Monday, Bowles’ opinion didn’t change about the offense or where he wanted to go with it.

“They beat us,” he said. “They had a good game plan. They made way more plays than we made and we had a bad outing. We have to go back to the drawing board.”

Notes & quotes: McCown officially was placed on IR . . . The Jets moved running back Akeem Judd from the practice squad to the active roster. The team also signed RB Jahad Thomas and QB Joel Stave to the practice squad.

New York Sports