Isaiah Crowell, big-play Jets romp past Broncos 34-16
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Isaiah Crowell ran all over the Denver Broncos’ suddenly leaky defense — and kept his touchdown celebration low-key this time around.
The New York running back ran for a franchise-record 219 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown, and Sam Darnold threw two TD passes to Robby Anderson, including a 76-yarder, to help the big-play Jets snap a three-game losing streak with a 34-16 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
“It means a lot to me,” Crowell said. “I’ve got to give all the credit to my O-line. I can’t really take the credit. Really, it was all them. I mean, the holes were open. Anybody could’ve run through them. It just happened to be me.
“They really set the record.”
Crowell needed just 15 carries to break the team record of 210 yards rushing set by Thomas Jones in 2009 against Buffalo. His 14.6 yards per carry set an NFL record for a player with at least 15 attempts, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Bilal Powell added 99 yards rushing, and New York finished with 323 yards on the ground — second-most in team history — and 512 overall yards.
After an ugly 20-yard punt early in the second quarter by Colby Wadman, who replaced the injured Marquette King, the Jets (2-3) took advantage immediately. Crowell took the handoff, scooted to the left sideline and zipped into the end zone — getting some nice blocks from receivers Anderson, Pryor and Jermaine Kearse along the way — for a 77-yard yard touchdown that tied the game.
Crowell was fined $13,369 by the NFL and given a stern lecture from coach Todd Bowles for his crude TD celebration two weeks ago in Cleveland when he wiped his rear end with the football. This time, Crowell simply tossed the ball to the turf in the end zone.
“I didn’t want to do anything that would cost my team a penalty,” Crowell said.
The Jets were just getting started with big plays.
On their next possession, Darnold found Anderson streaking down the field uncovered and connected for a 76-yard touchdown that put New York ahead 14-7 with 10:46 left in the half. It was the longest TD catch of Anderson’s career.
According to the Jets, it was the first time they have had multiple TDs on offense of 75 yards or more in the same game since Sept. 24, 1972, against the Baltimore Colts. Joe Namath tossed TD passes of 79 and 80 yards to Rich Caster in that one. It was the first time the Jets had a TD catch and a TD run of at least 75 yards.
“Every single week, we can do that,” Darnold said. “I’m just really excited for next week.”
Darnold also had a TD toss to Terrelle Pryor that sealed the game late in the fourth quarter for the Jets. The rookie quarterback finished 10 of 22 for 198 yards and the three scores with an interception to help New York to its first win since the season opener.
“It was really a team effort,” Darnold said, “and I couldn’t be more proud.”
The Jets’ defense came up big, too, while playing without coordinator Kacy Rodgers, who is dealing with what Bowles has called a “serious” illness. Bowles ran the defense against the Broncos and the Jets kept the pressure on Keenum all game, sacking him four times — including two by Leonard Williams.
“We had our brother down and that was our message that we wanted to play for him,” safety Jamal Adams said of Rodgers. “I know he’s smiling right now.”
They nearly had one more big play when Marcus Maye intercepted Keenum’s final pass and returned it 104 yards — the longest in team history — before being taken down by Courtland Sutton at the 1 to end the game.
It was also the longest non-touchdown on an INT return, according to Elias.
Keenum finished 35 of 51 for 377 yards with touchdown passes to Sutton and Demaryius Thomas for the Broncos (2-3).
“We usually are a pretty stout defense,” Broncos linebacker Von Miller said. “Today, we weren’t. We got gashed over the top two or three times today. It was a rough one.”
The Jets turned the ball over on their second play from scrimmage when Adam Gotsis knocked the ball out of Powell’s hands and recovered at New York’s 20. Three plays later, Keenum found Sutton in the end zone from 8 yards out to give Denver a 7-0 lead.
It was Keenum’s first TD pass since Week 1, when he had three in a win over Seattle, and the first touchdown reception of Sutton’s career.
Keenum completed passes of 31 yards to Thomas and 24 to DaeSean Hamilton to put the Broncos at the Jets 7, but New York came up with a red-zone stop and held Denver to a 30-yard field goal by Brandon McManus to make it 14-10 with 3:58 left in the half.
On New York’s next possession, Darnold reared back from the 35 and fired a perfectly placed pass into the left corner of the end zone, where it dropped into Anderson’s hands just beyond a pursuing Bradley Roby for another touchdown.
“Anyone who saw the game knows it wasn’t good enough,” Broncos safety Justin Simmons said of Denver’s defense. “It’s not what we do. We’ve got to be better.”
Jets: CB Buster Skrine left in the first quarter with a concussion and didn’t return. Skrine started in place of Trumaine Johnson, who was sidelined with a strained quadriceps.
Broncos: CB Adam Jones was ruled out in the second half after injuring a leg.
There were no individual protests by players on either team during the singing of the national anthem.
Broncos: home vs. Los Angeles Rams next Sunday.
Jets: home vs. Indianapolis Colts next Sunday.