Game Of The Season

Jets vs. Broncos

Jim Rome
September 30, 2020 - 11:40 am
Adam Gase

USA Today


MLB’s October Madness is already underway and the NBA Finals start tonight, but I am still thinking about the NFL’s game of the season. And no, I’m not talking about Chiefs-Ravens on Monday night, I’m talking about Broncos-Jets tomorrow night.

KC-Baltimore didn’t exactly live up to the “game of the season” hype because, as Frank Clark tweeted, Kansas City “Kicked in they door and took all they bleep.”

So tomorrow night, we get the real game of the season. The 0-3 Denver Broncos traveling east to face the 0-3 New York Jets.

Monday night was a battle of unbeatens, tomorrow night is the battle of the beatens. On Monday night, someone had to lose. Tomorrow night, someone has to win. Or maybe not. Because knowing these two teams, I could see them somehow figuring out a way for both of them to lose.

You’ve got the New York Jets and their problems are well documented. They are 0-3 and they’ve been outscored by an average of nearly three touchdowns per game. Two games into the season, players were questioning the effectiveness of practices. And three games into the season, players felt like they had to defend their head coach.

But don’t worry, the brilliant offensive mind is all over it: “There’s moments in the games where we feel like we have to just get over that hump of, stay right where we’re at, we’re right there in a one-score game and something happens that we let it avalanche on us. That’s the point of the game we gotta put a stop to and then find a way to actually use momentum to our advantage. We haven’t done that yet. Be loose, make plays, have fun. … I just want our guys to be present and just go after a win.”

Have to love the coach of a team that’s getting its ass kicked every time they step on the field saying “be loose, make plays, have fun.”

Hey guys, I know we’re getting humiliated every time you step on the field, but let’s have fun! Let’s go out there with a smile on our faces! We play a game for a living! 

And yes, the sharks are circling and there are rumors that Gase might be fired if he loses this game and gets embarrassed in primetime. Which would be pretty hilarious given his owner called him a brilliant offensive mind like two weeks ago. 

But it’s not like the Broncos are rolling in with a much better vibe. They’re 0-3, they haven’t won a game in September under Vic Fangio and since he arrived in Denver, they’re 1-7 when they trail after the first quarter. In other words, if you get a lead on these guys, you’re not losing.

But at least the Broncos can point to reasons why they’re like this. Unlike the Jets, they’ve actually been in some football games. Two of their three losses were by 5 points or less. And they are banged up.

Correction, they are banged the hell up. Von Miller, Courtland Sutton, Philip Lindsay, AJ Bouye, and Drew Lock missed Sunday’s game. And now Jurrell Casey is out for the rest of the season as well.

Because Lock is injured, the Broncos signed Blake Bortles last week and then had to start Jeff Driskel on Sunday. That went so poorly that Driskel was pulled in the fourth quarter for Brett Rypien, who had just been called up from the practice squad.

All that quarterback drama raised the question: who would start for Denver tomorrow night in the game of the season? Would it be Blake Bortles, Jeff Driskel, or Brett Rypien?

Answer. None of the above. Take it away, Vic Fangio:"We're going to start Mark, I mean Brett. I call him Mark sometimes because of his uncle."

Errr, ahhh, errr, ahhh. We’re going to start Mark, I mean Brett. I call Brett “Mark” because of his uncle.

I haven’t heard a Bronco handle a presser like that since John Elway was shouting out John Elway.

And I know you’re going to hear that and think, I’m not sure that Vance Fangio knows what he’s talking about. You’re going to say that if Vincent Fangio is calling Brett Rypien “Mark” that doesn’t fill you with confidence.

And to that, I would say…you’re wrong. That’s just Virgil Fangio being Virgil Fangio. You know how Vicente Fangio is, always keeping guys loose and relaxed. It’s some classic nickname humor. Everyone knows Mark is short for Brett.

And if you’re Brett Rypien, you have to love the confidence your head coach has in you. Not only does he get your name wrong when he announces that you’re starting, but he throws in that he might play Jeff Driskel as well. You know, because Jeff Driskel is such a potent weapon, you can’t keep him off the field. Awesome. Good stuff.

Here’s the thing, with all due respect to Brett, which means that Brett is probably about to be disrespected, but with all due respect to Brett, if the options are starting Jeff Driskel or starting Brett Rypien, I might actually start Mark Rypien.

And I’d see if Art Monk wants to lace ‘em up tomorrow night too. Does Gary Clark want to run a few patterns? Ricky Sanders is explosive, scheme up some stuff to get him in space. Can we get the Hogs together to block?

The only thing that would make tomorrow night’s game of the season better is if the Broncos really did roll out there with Mark Rypien. Do that and the game of the season becomes the Game of the Century?