Jets struggle again, get shut out 26-0 by Broncos

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DENVER—Zach Wilson struggled again, going 19-for-35 for 160 yards with two interceptions. But this wasn’t solely on the rookie signal caller as the entire offense failed to muster anything in a 26-0 defeat.

“It’s frustrating,” Wilson said. “You have to give the defense credit.”

Everybody’s phone should get an AMBER alert because the Jets offense is missing. They claimed to be in Denver for a football game on Sunday, but nobody could find them.

A play with 14:17 left in the fourth quarter provided a microcosm of the day’s offensive futility.

It was fourth and one at the Broncos 25 and the Jets went into an empty formation. Wilson dropped back and threw to Ty Johnson underneath on a slant route, but the pass went through Johnson’s hands and fell incomplete.

The offense had 162 yards of total offense and many will point to the rookie quarterback. But this isn’t all on him.

Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur wasn’t creating easy throws for Wilson. Receivers weren’t getting open quick enough. The offensive line couldn’t create any lanes for the running backs. Pass protection was an issue, also, allowing five sacks.

This all led to Wilson struggling throughout the game. Robert Saleh can’t single out one specific issue that is causing the offense to stink.

“I wish it was one thing, it’s just at all three levels,” Saleh said. “From O-line, to route running, to playing in rhythm to play caller… We’ve all got to look in the mirror, we all got to find a way to play better on Sunday.”

Every time there seemed to be a glimmer of hope, the Jets failed to capitalize.

“We’ve got to execute, we’ve got to cash in when those opportunities come,” Saleh said. “When there’s clean pockets, the quarterback gonna stay in and throw the ball. Receivers gotta catch it. But it just seems like every play it’s one breakdown from one different position, and coaches included. Eventually we got to piece this together.”

The offense was moving at a snail pace and only crossed over 100 yards of total offense after a Corey Davis reception for four yards on the last play of the third quarter.

That’s unacceptable.

The game was over in the first half as the Broncos jumped out to a 17-0 lead and the offense dragged their feet for the third week in a row.

The Jets offense had 55 yards of total offense at halftime. The Broncos offense had that amount by their second drive of the first quarter.

Here’s how each possession in the first half went for the Jets:

Punt. Punt. Punt. Punt. Let the first-half clock run out.

The Jets’ 3 points in the first half through three games are tied for the fewest through three games in the last 20 seasons for Gang Green, according to ESPNStatsInfo.

To start the game, Wilson found Davis on a curl route for a first down. That was a good start for the offense but the unit quickly sunk into quicksand for the rest of the game.

And even when there was hope, the Jets fumbled the bag. Here’s an example.

On the Jets first drive in the second quarter there was finally some momentum. Wilson was able to convert three first downs with throws to Davis, Tyler Kroft and Johnson. All of those passes were boring in a good way, they were smart and accurate as Wilson took what the defense gave him.

But all the positivity of the second drive was quickly wasted.

On third and 13, Wilson was pressured and had to escape before firing a missile to Davis down the sideline but Davis wasn’t able to reel it in. Then the Jets lined up for a 56-yard field goal and Matt Ammendola nailed it. But they drew a delay of game and had to punt.

Wilson viewed that moment as a summary of the entire game.

“What happened at the end of that drive really shows, I think what’s happening the whole game it’s us killing ourselves and it really comes down to that,” Wilson said. “Both of those plays had nothing to do with them, that’s just us needing to execute.”

The next possession, the Jets defense forced a three and out. But it didn’t matter as the Jets offense wasted it going three and out after Broncos edge Von Miller was able to speed past right tackle Morgan Moses to sack Wilson.

The Jets defense has been able to within stand the offensive troubles through the first two games with a bend but don’t break mentality.

But against the Broncos it cracked early. They allowed the Broncos to march up and down the field for 198 yards in the first half.

Jets said they were committed to stopping the run because the Broncos offense flows out of their rushing attack. But they de-committed from that aspect and allowed 74 yards in the first half.

For the entire game, the Jets defense allowed 327 yards of total offense and 121 yards on the ground.

Now the Jets sit at 0-3. And there aren’t many answers to fix the main issue, which is that the offense is dreadful.

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