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DENVER — The Broncos snapped their longest losing streak since joining the NFL in 1970 with a 23-0 shutout of the New York Jets on Sunday thanks to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas‘ big game and a return of Denver’s stingy defense.
Trevor Siemian threw for 200 yards and his favorite target was Thomas , who caught eight passes for 93 yards and a touchdown as the Broncos (4-9) avoided tying their franchise futility record of nine consecutive losses set way back in 1967.
This was their first win in 70 days — and their first shutout since Nov. 20, 2005, a 27-0 win over the Jets, was fueled by a defense that held New York in check all afternoon.
The Jets (5-8) were limited to just 100 yards of offense, 59 on the ground and 41 through the air.
McCown finished just 6 of 12 for 46 yards, and his replacement, Bryce Petty was 2 of 9 for 14 yards.
After their opening drive stalled at the Jets 13, the Broncos settled for a 31-yard field goal by Brandon McManus. On the Jets’ third snap of their first possession, linebacker Brandon Marshall sliced through for a strip sack and defensive end Adam Gotsis recovered McCown’s fumble at the Jets 20-yard line.
Two plays later, Siemian hit Thomas for the 20-yard score, giving Denver its first double-digit lead since Oct. 1 against Oakland, the date of their last victory.
McManus missed from 29 yards in the second quarter but his 53-yarder just before halftime gave the Broncos a 13-0 lead heading into the locker room.
In the third quarter, running back C.J. Anderson thought he had a 14-yard touchdown catch but he was ruled him out an inch shy of the goal line. After he failed to punch it in twice, fullback Andy Janovich bullied his way into the end zone for a 20-0 lead.
Jets running back Elijah McGuire (ankle) and long snapper Thomas Hennessy(head) were knocked out of the game in the first half. McCown briefly left in the second quarter after he was sandwiched by Aqib Talib and Jamal Carter — before being hammered by Ray in the third quarter.
The Broncos lost starting safety Justin Simmons to an ankle injury in the first quarter and was replaced by Will Parks. Inside linebacker Todd Davis was evaluated for a possible concussion in the fourth quarter.
MOVIN’ ON UP: Thomas’ TD catch was the 56th of his career, surpassing Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe for second in franchise history. Wide receiver Rod Smith‘s 68 TD receptions are the most all-time.
BAD DRAFT? A snapshot of why the Broncos have fallen so far from their Super Bowl title just 22 months ago: among their inactives Sunday were these members of the 2017 draft class who were healthy scratches: CB Brendan Langley, RB De’Angelo Henderson and PR Isaiah McKenzie, who was benched for the second time after committing his sixth fumble.