By Brad Carroll
The New York Jets increased their losing streak to five games this season, dropping a 31-17 decision to the Denver Broncos at home Sunday afternoon. The Jets weren't embarrassed in this game, as they had the ball on offense twice in the final minutes with a chance to tie the mighty Broncos, but a loss is a loss and the Jets are getting awfully close to becoming irrelevant at 1-5.
The Jets offense was bad yet again, but this time it wasn't on quarterback Geno Smith, who threw for two touchdowns, but rather the offensive line and running game. The Jets defense played great for spurts, but when the unit needed a stop at key points, they couldn't get the job done.
Here are the players that were responsible for this latest loss, and receive our Game Falls, and even players who did their best to give the Jets a chance to win, and get Game Balls. Read our Jets-Broncos game breakdown here.
Offensive Line: The Jets O-Line has gone from the strength of the team, when they went to back-to-back AFC championship games, to a complete weakness in a few years. Sunday may have been the worst performance for the Jets offensive line in a decade. The running game was embarrassing against the Broncos, totaling just 31 yards on 15 carries, a 2.1-yard per carry average. Geno Smith was the leading rusher with 11 yards. It was the Jets lowest rushing total since 2006. Smith was sacked four times and was hit a whopping nine times. Brian Winters, who is likely lost for the season with an Achilles injury, and Willie Colon, a penalty machine, have been terrible all year long. The group hit a new low with this performance against Denver.
Running Game: Let's not excuse the play of Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson here, as they combined for 16 yards on 11 carries. Both had no part in the game, with each catching a single pass out of the backfield. Johnson even went the wrong direction on a designed pass to the running back. The Jets offensive line was terrible, but the running backs did nothing to help either.
Calvin Pryor: He was the one covering Broncos tight end Julius Thomas on his third-quarter touchdown, the one where Thomas was caught on an end zone mic saying "it's so fu--ing easy" after catching the pass. It was so easy, as Pryor wasn't even close to defending the pass. Pryor dropped back into coverage, while Thomas ran a simple slant to score. Pryor has no idea how to cover yet, which is pretty frustrating considering he was a first round draft pick. He could be yet another John Idzik miss in the draft.
Kyle Wilson: With less than five minutes to go in the third quarter and the Jets trailing the Broncos 24-7, Peyton Manning threw a bad pass on third and eight from the Denver 22 right at Wilson. The ball hit Wilson in the upper leg and bounced to the ground. Wilson had a gift interception thrown his way, one he could have returned for a touchdown, but didn't even know it was coming, despite looking right at it. The Jets needed to get takeaways to win this game, and Wilson couldn't do his part.
Greg Salas: He had just one catch for 27 yards, even though he started at wide receiver, but his biggest crime was a dropped pass at the end of the first half. On a first and 10 from the Denver 45 with six seconds to play, Smith threw a perfect out pattern that would have set up a Nick Folk field goal attempt with two seconds left if completed. But Salas dropped the pass that hit him right in his hands and the Jets ended up getting nothing out of the drive.
Quinton Coples: He was completely invisible for the Jets Sunday. Well, except for his neutral zone infraction penalty that turned a third and 11 play with 1:13 to go in the fourth quarter into a third and six. Coples had just one tackle in the game and may be playing his way out of town.
Walt Powell: He fumbled a punt return, moving without the ball as if he was afraid to take the hit. The Jets absolutely stink at returning punts, putting young players back there and expecting the best. So far, they've only gotten the worst. Remember Jalen Saunders?
Jace Amaro: He had a critical drop in the game, and that can't be overlooked, but the rookie tight end did have a big day. Amaro caught 10 passes for 68 yards and his first NFL touchdown. The Jets need to continue targeting him in the passing game going forward.
Mo Wilkerson: He's clearly the best player on the team, and had another big game, with eight tackles, a sack and two quarterback hits. Hopefully, the Jets don't go cheap on signing Wilkerson this offseason to a new deal.
Sheldon Richardson: He's second to Wilkerson in terms of talent on this Jets team. Richardson had a big tackle for a loss on the Broncos final drive, busting through the offense line and taking down Ronnie Hillman for a three yard loss on a second and eight play from the Jets 44 with 1:54 to go. Richardson had seven tackles overall.