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Broncos Fifth Quarter: Pass rush gets cranked up (five sacks) against Jets



Broncos Fifth Quarter: Pass rush gets cranked up (five sacks) against Jets

Upon Further Review

1. Pass rush cranks up. After a non-descript start to the season, the Broncos’ pass rush got going against the New York Jets. The Broncos had 11 total disruptions (three sacks, five knockdowns and three pressures) in Weeks 1-2, but a whopping 16 against the Jets (five sacks, four knockdowns and seven pressures) of Jets QB Zach Wilson. The sacks came in 2.75 (ILB Alexander Johnson), 4.82 (DE Shelby Harris), 3.26 (OLB Von Miller), 3.95 (OLB Malik Reed) and 3.03 seconds (Johnson). The Broncos rushed at least five players at Wilson on 10 of his 40 drop-backs (25%) and he was 4 of 10 for 37 yards against extra rushers.

2. Stretching the field. Broncos QB Teddy Bridgewater was 4-of-8 passing on attempts that traveled at least 16 “air” yards, but those completions accounted for 110 of his 235 yards. The plays were 28 yards to WR KJ Hamler and 27, 24 and 31 yards to WR Tim Patrick. A downfield attempt negated by penalty was WR Courtland Sutton drawing a 19-yard pass interference penalty on Jets CB Brandin Echols on third-and-10; RB Melvin Gordon scored on the next play.

3. Moving Miller around. Minus OLB Bradley Chubb (ankle surgery), the Broncos shuttled Miller on at least five snaps to go against LT George Fant. Another cool wrinkle by coach Vic Fangio was using Johnson as a defensive end (three-point stance) for a third-and-1 play in the first half. Johnson was a part of the pass rush on the play that gained six yards.

4. Penalty script flipped. The Broncos flipped their penalty script, from defense in Week 2 to offense in Week 3. The offense had only two penalties in the first two games, but was called for six against the Jets — two on TE Noah Fant and one apiece on LG Dalton Risner, RG Graham Glasgow, Sutton and Bridgewater. Risner’s penalty was for taunting S Marcus Maye after Gordon’s touchdown. Risner told Fangio he didn’t do anything, but replays clearly showed him jawing toward Maye instead of, you know, celebrating with Gordon and Co., in the end zone. The defense had no penalties.

5. Few big rushes. Fangio wasn’t exaggerating when he said the Jets’ defense sold out to stop the run. The Broncos had 37 carries for 121 yards, but didn’t have an attempt of longer than 14 yards. We booked the Broncos with 10 “bad” run plays (gain of one or fewer yards) and 3 1/2 went to unblocked players. Risner and C Lloyd Cushenberry had 1 1/2 apiece and RT Bobby Massie one.

6. Strnad’s debut. ILB Justin Strnad made his first NFL start in place of Josey Jewell (season-ending chest injury). Strnad played 41 snaps and made four tackles. In man coverage, he allowed two completions for eight yards in four targets.

Four Key Numbers

3,288 — Consecutive snaps streak for safety Justin Simmons, dating back to Week 1 of 2018, that ended Sunday.

+50 — Point differential for Broncos in Weeks 1-3, tied with Buffalo for best in NFL.

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