TEAM INTRODUCTIONS: Mayor John Hickenlooper just delivered the game ball on a bicycle as part of the Orange Sunday pregame festivities. Now the offense is being introduced, and Brandon Lloyd is the first man through the tunnel. It’s getting close to kickoff.
COIN TOSS: The captains are at midfield for the coin toss. The Jets make the call — heads. It’s tails, and Denver elects to defer to the second half. The Jets will receive the ball to start the game.
Q1 15:00: There’s a ton of orange in the crowd, and the fans are waiving orange towels as Matt Prater prepares to kick off. Brad Smith is back deep to receive for New York. Prater’s kickoff sails out of the back of the end zone. The defense is now on the field. Justin Bannan, Jamal Williams, Marcus Thomas and Kevin Vickerson are starting on the line. Jason Hunter, D.J. Williams and Mario Haggan make up the linebacker corps. Champ Bailey and Perrish Cox are at cornerback, with Renaldo Hill and Nate Jones rounding out the secondary.
Q1 14:17: Mario Haggan is there for a stop behind the line of scrimmage on first down. On second down, Champ Bailey nearly intercepts a Mark Sanchez pass, and Perrish Cox does the same on third-and-11, but the ball falls through both cornerbacks’ hands. On fourth down, Steve Weatherford booms a punt, which is returned by Eddie Royal. The receiver takes the 53-yard punt back 32 yards and the offense takes over at the New York 40-yard line.
Q1 13:25: The starting offense is on the field, led by quarterback Kyle Orton. The offensive line is Ryan Clady at left tackle, Russ Hochstein at left guard, J.D. Walton at center, Chris Kuper at right guard and Zane Beadles making the start at right tackle. Daniel Graham is in at tight end. Brandon Lloyd, Royal and Jabar Gaffney are the receivers, and Knowshon Moreno is in the backfield. After a false start penalty, Orton finds Royal for a 10-yard gain. The Broncos are in the hurry-up offense, and Moreno takes the carry on second down. He picks up 14 yards before fumbling the ball. It’s recovered by the Jets.
Q1 13:00: LaDainian Tomlinson runs for 5 yards on first down, then takes a carry again on second down for 2 yards. That makes it third-and-3 at the 24-yard line, and Sanchez drops back with an empty backfield. He scans right then left before being sacked by D.J. Williams — the coverage downfield gave the quarterback nowhere to go. Royal is deep to receive Weatherford’s punt. The receiver fields it at about the 31-yard line — he calls for a fair catch, and the offense will take over on the other side of a TV timeout.
Q1 11:26: Orton is in the shotgun on first down, but there’s a flag on the play — make that two flags on the play. False start on the Broncos, and at the end of the play, a personal foul on Bart Scott. That results in a 15-yard gain for the Broncos since it was a personal foul after the play. That makes it first-and-10 at the Denver 46-yard line. Orton is back in the shotgun again. He takes the snap and quickly lofts toward Lloyd down the left sideline, but the ball is over his head with Antonio Cromartie in coverage. Correll Buckhalter picks up 4 yards on second down, making it third-and-6 at midfield. Orton is in the shotgun. He drops back and fires toward Lloyd, but there was some miscommunication as the receiver cut toward the middle of the field and the pass was toward the sideline. That makes it fourth down, and Britton Colquitt is in to punt. The kick bounces out of the back of the end zone for a touchback.
Q1 10:33: On first-and-10 for the Jets, Shonn Greene gets the carry and picks up 2 yards before being brought down by Haggan. Second down brings a pass from Sanchez — straight to Jason Hunter for an interception. He runs it back to about the 20-yard line. It’s his first career interception. But there are two fouls on Denver after the play. The team is penalized 15 yards back to the 33-yard line. Laurence Maroney gets the carry and picks up 4 yards. On second down, Buckhalter takes a handoff from Tim Tebow. He picks up 13 yards for a first down. Tebow is still in the game in the shotgun formation. He hands off to Buckhalter yet again with Orton split out wide. The running back picks up 3 yards, and Tebow runs off the field to a loud ovation. Orton finds Gaffney near the first-down marker, but it’s third-and-1, and Buckhalter is drilled by a pack of Jets behind the line of scrimmage to force fourth down. Matt Prater is in for a field goal, but the snap is off and the hold is mishandled. Prater falls on the fumble and the Jets take over on their own 23-yard line.
Q1 6:34: D.J. Williams is there to take down LaDainian Tomlinson on first down after a gain of 2. Before the Jets run a play on second down, New York calls its first timeout of the half.
Q1 5:50: On the other side of the timeout, Sanchez fakes a handoff to Tomlinson before finding Braylon Edwards for a gain of 2. That makes it third-and-6, and the crowd — decked out in orange — is on its feet. Sanchez drops back and narrowly misses being sacked by D.J. Williams, finding Santonio Holmes right at the first-down marker to move the chains. That makes it first-and-10 at the 34-yard line. Sanchez hands off to Tomlinson, who finds some space to pick up 6 yards.
Q1 4:16: On second down, It’s Tomlinson again with the carry, and he’s hit hard after a gain of 2. That makes it third-and-2 at the 42, and the defense has a chance to get off the field. The Broncos call their first timeout of the half before the play.
Q1 3:36: On third-and-2, Sanchez rolls out and finds Jerricho Cotchery right at the marker for a conversion. The ensuing first down is a toss to Tomlinson, who is tripped up behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of a yard. Second down brings a play-action pass from Sanchez to Dustin Keller for a first down. The Jets have a first-and-10 in Broncos territory at the 44. Sanchez barks out a call at the line before firing quickly to Cotchery in the flat. The receiver picks up 8 yards. Tomlinson picks up the remaining two for another first down.
Q1 0:36: Sanchez misfires to Keller to bring up second-and-10. Jason Hunter fights off two blockers to take down Tomlinson in the backfield on second down, bringing the first quarter to a close. The Jets will face a third-and-10 at the Denver 32-yard line when play resumes.
Q2 15:00: On third-and-10, Sanchez drops back and finds Edwards in the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown. Champ Bailey is down after the play.
Q2 14:54: Bailey walks off the field under his own power. Nick Folk’s extra point is up and in, and the Jets lead 7-0.
JETS 7, BRONCOS 0
Q2 14:53: Royal is back deep to return the ensuing kickoff. The ball flies out of the back of the end zone for a touchback. Denver has a first-and-10 at its own 20-yard line. Orton lines up in the shotgun, dropping back and firing between two defenders to Gaffney, who sprints forward after the catch for a 16-yard gain. The team hurries back to the line and Orton hands off to Maroney. The running back is brought down for no gain. On second down, Orton fakes a handoff before firing to Gaffney yet again. The receiver picks up 16 yards yet again for another first down in Jets territory. Royal takes a toss on an end around on the ensuing play, shaking Jets safety Drew Coleman out of his shoes for a 13-yard gain.
Q2 12:10: Tim Tebow steps in under center, running to his left for a 2-yard gain on first down. On second down, Orton nearly connects with Lloyd for a first down, but the receiver can’t hold on to the ball. On third-and-8 at the 32-yard line, Orton lines up in the shotgun. He drops back and quickly fires to Gaffney down the left sideline over the head of Darrelle Revis. Tim Tebow is in the game in the shotgun formation on first-and-goal at the 5. He sprints to his right and beats the defense to the corner, finding the end zone for his first touchdown in the NFL, and Denver’s first points of the day. Prater’s extra point is up and in, and the crowd at INVESCO Field at Mile High is on its feet.
BRONCOS 7, JETS 7
Q2 11:11: Prater lines up for the kickoff, but lofts an onside kick and Nate Jones comes away with it, giving the Broncos another possession. The offense will take over at its own 45-yard line. Spencer Larsen is down after the play, however.
Q2 11:10: Orton hands off to Maroney on first down, but there’s a flag on the play — holding on the Broncos. That makes it first-and-20. Orton drops back into the shotgun and tests Revis again down the sideline, but the cornerback leaps to tip away a pass intended for Gaffney. Now second-and-20, Orton throws an incompletion but there’s a flag in the secondary — holding on the defense, Drew Coleman. That’s 5 yards and an automatic first down. The ensuing play brings a run by Maroney, who picks up 5 yards.
Q2 10:00: Maroney is stopped for a loss of a yard on a carry on second down, making it third-and-6. Orton drops back and fires deep down the middle for Gaffney, but the ball flies over his head, forcing a punt from Colquitt. The punt bounces in the middle of the end zone for a touchback.
*INJURY UPDATES* Champ Bailey got the wind knocked out of him and is already back in the game. Matthew Willis has a foot injury and will not return.
Q2 9:20: On first down, Sanchez finds Edwards for 5 yards. Second down is a carry by Greene, and the back picks up the first down. On first-and-10 at the 31-yard line, Sanchez hands off to Greene again, and the back runs into a group of Broncos after 3 yards. Second down brings an incomplete pass from Sanchez — but there’s a flag on the play. It’s pass interference on Dustin Keller of the Jets, a 10-yard penalty that makes it second-and-17 at the 24-yard line. Sanchez finds Tomlinson with a ton of room to run, but the veteran trips and is brought down by Haggan after a gain of 8. On third-and-9, the crowd is on its feet. Sanchez drops back and lofts a deep pass to Santonio Holmes, who hauls it in on the sideline for a first down and then some. There’s a flag on the play, however — pass interference on the Jets yet again. It’s a 10-yard penalty on Holmes, making it third-and-19. The defense makes a few substitutions before Tomlinson takes a handoff and is stopped short of the first down. However, the play never happened, as Denver called its second timeout of the half.
Q2 5:49: On third-and-19, Sanchez again hands off to Tomlinson, who is again stopped after a gain of about 3. Steve Weatherford is in to punt, with Royal back deep to receive. The receiver lets the ball bounce and the Broncos offense will take over at its own 21-yard line. Knowshon Moreno is back in the backfield. On first down, Orton hands the ball off, but Moreno runs into the offensive line and is brought down after a gain of a yard. Now second-and-9, Orton lines up in the shotgun, takes the snap and throws a pass that is tipped at the line. That makes it third-and-9 — but there’s a flag on the previous play, an illegal formation on the Broncos. The penalty is declined. Orton fires to Royal, but Coleman meets him right as the ball arrives and it falls incomplete. Colquitt is in to punt again, and Jim Leonhard is back to receive. After a 58-yard punt, Syd’Quan Thompson sprints down to take down Leonhard after a 13-yard return. The Jets take over at their own 33-yard line.
Q2 3:49: Jason Hunter stops Shonn Greene after a gain of 1 on first down. On second down, Sanchez finds a wide open Keller, who fights his way down to the Denver 44-yard line. The ensuing first down brings a run up the middle by Green, and the back picks up 5 yards. That takes the clock down to the two-minute warning.
Q2 2:00: Marcus Thomas takes down Brad Smith after the receiver took a direct snap, but the Jets still have a first down at the 31-yard line. Sanchez fires quickly out to Cotchery in the flat, but Perrish Cox is there to make the open-field tackle after a gain of 3. On second down, Sanchez tests Cox down the sideline to the end zone, but the rookie cornerback leaps and nearly intercepts a pass intended for Holmes. After the incompletion, Sanchez drops back on third-and-7 and throws his second interception of the day, this one to Syd’Quan Thompson. The rookie returns the pick to the Denver 35-yard line, where the offense takes over with less than 40 seconds remaining in the first half.
Q2 0:39: Orton nearly finds Royal for a big gain down the middle of the field, but the pass falls incomplete. On second down with 34 seconds remaining, Orton is in the shotgun. He rolls to his right and throws the ball out of bounds as no one came open downfield. On third down, Orton fires to Royal, who sprints to the New York 41-yard line before Denver calls its final timeout of the first half.
Q2 0:21: Orton tries to find Lloyd down the left sideline, but Cromartie is there to break up the pass. On second-and-10, Orton lines up in the shotgun. He drops back and pump fakes before throwing an incompletion to make it third-and-10. On the ensuing play, Orton rolls to his right and fires deep to Royal in the end zone, but the ball falls incomplete just past his outstretched hands. Prater is in to attempt a 59-yard field goal. This time the snap and hold are set, and his kick is good, giving the Broncos the lead as the first half comes to a close. The whole team runs out to congratulate the kicker before running through the tunnel to the screams of the crowd.
BRONCOS 10, JETS 7
See you in the second half blog.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com