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Any lingering hopes of the Jets remaining in playoff contention were put to rest by a struggling Broncos team that was met with scant resistance in their 23-0 win. This continues a season-long pattern of futility on the road for this Jets team, which drops to 5-8 on the year and now seems destined to end up 5-11 for the season season in a row.
Let's review the defensive performance from Sunday's loss:
The Jets did a decent job against the run on Sunday, which was probably the closest thing to a bright spot from this game. Denver averaged just 2.4 yards per carry, although they did punch in a touchdown at the third attempt from the goal line.
Muhammad Wilkerson had an active game against the run this week. He was credited with six tackles, most of which came close to the line of scrimmage. He once again didn't do much as a pass rusher though, although he was credited with a coverage sack, and got upfield to help flush Trevor Siemian from the pocket a few times. Wilkerson jumped offside on the second play of the game and also had a couple of plays where he was blocked off his spot.
Leonard Williams continues to struggle to generate much statistical production as he had just two tackles. He didn't have any quarterback hits this week after he had been racking up plenty over the past few months. However, he was in on or helped to bottle up a number of run stops, and pressured Siemian on an athletic play where he got up after being knocked down by a cut block. He had a few negatives too though, including on the short touchdown which saw him driven off the line.
Steve McLendon had an active game with five tackles and a quarterback hit. Two of his tackles came on plays that went for no gain and one was for a loss, as he did a good job of getting penetration. To his credit, reserve Xavier Cooper also generated some good penetration on a few plays.
Mike Pennel also saw action and had a pressure and a run stuff. However, he also had a costly penalty - not for the first time - and was drive off the line once.
Kony Ealy once again had a quiet game as he had a season-low in terms of his workload. He made a third down stop on one play, but was dragged to the marker and the Broncos converted on 4th-and-one.
After his benching last week, Darron Lee made his return to the lineup, and made some nice plays in the run game and a good open field tackle in coverage. One thing that was good to see was Lee aggressively taking on a fullback in the hole, leading to his teammate being able to stuff the run. However, he also gave up a big play when a back was left open in the flat and took the ball down to the goal line.
Demario Davis was productive with a team-high 12 tackles, including one for a loss and a handful of others close to the line of scrimmage. He also didn't make any obvious mistakes, although he gave up one first down on a pass underneath.
Jordan Jenkins had mixed fortunes in this game. He was in on a couple of run stops, and blew another run up by driving his blocker into the backfield. But he also got buried at the line on one play and gave up a first down in coverage. He didn't generate much pressure either and was perhaps lucky not to be flagged for a big hit on Siemian at the sideline.
Josh Martin, who continues to start across from Jenkins, stuffed a run and generated pressure on two plays, although both still ended up in big completions.
Perhaps the best performance on the front seven came from David Bass. He had a sack and a couple of pressures, was in on a run stop and stopped a receiver for a loss in the flat. Bass made a good inside move for one pressure and beat his man off the edge to record his sack.
Obum Gwacham, who the team signed earlier in the season but had kept inactive until last week, finally saw his first action on defense with Freddie Bishop inactive.
Unfortunately, while he's had a good season to this point, Morris Claiborne was the primary reason for the defensive struggles yesterday. Claiborne gave up an early touchdown to Demaryius Thomas, but his problems didn't end there. He gave up eight catches for over 100 yards, including a fourth down conversion, and also missed a couple of tackles. In addition, he had two penalties giving him a total of nine on the year.
Buster Skrine and Darryl Roberts fared much better. Skrine made two good plays in coverage, including an end zone disruption and one in run support. Roberts just gave up one first down on a back shoulder throw, although he was also called for a defensive holding penalty.
At safety, Marcus Maye bounced back well from his rough game last week. He made some nice plays in run support - including a stop at the goal line - and coming up to make tackles on short passes.
Jamal Adams was in on a few run stops too, including one for a loss. However, he got caught up in traffic on the play that set up the Broncos' second touchdown and was dragged by a ball carrier for extra yardage a couple of times. He was arguably lucky not to be flagged for a hit on a receiver in the end zone too.
Finally, reserves Rontez Miles, Terrence Brooks and Rashard Robinson only saw brief action. Miles got in on a nice stop at the goal line.