EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — On the Broncos’ land-mine schedule for the first half of the season, this was supposed to be the “easy” game. The hole in a doughnut topped with grenades for sprinkles.

But against the New York Jets, at MetLife Stadium, the term “easy game” does not exist. Only two teams the last two years have a greater positive disparity between home and road performance. And even though tight end was caught by the CBS microphones yelling, “Too easy!” after his third-quarter touchdown, the truth of the game was anything but.

When it looked as though the Broncos were about to turn the game into a runaway, the Jets punched back. And while some of the Broncos’ wounds were self-inflicted, more were caused by the Jets’ defensive aggression and an increased willingness by quarterback Geno Smith to put the ball into tight windows.

The final result was a 31-17 win that was not decided until cornerback Aqib Talib crossed the goal line with a 22-yard interception return 15 seconds from the final whistle.

It saw the Broncos struggle — in one four-possession stretch of the first half, they labored to just two first downs and punted four times — and then rally with three consecutive touchdowns. It saw some gorgeous moments, but was at times inelegant and unsteady.

But the one thing it was not, the Broncos insisted, was an “ugly” win.

“There’s no such thing,” said defensive end Malik Jackson, who again wreaked havoc with a quarterback hit, a tackle for a loss and multiple pressures. “It might be ugly (to someone) sitting at home, eating potato chips.

“A win is a win. In this league, they’re hard to come by, as you can tell with a lot of these teams.”

The Jets’ …read more