If Week 5 didn't include the 3-1 Dallas Cowboys squaring off against the 4-0 San Francisco 49ers, the New York Jets traveling to face the Denver Broncos would have ranked as perhaps the juiciest matchup, regardless of records (both teams entered the game 1-3).
This offseason, new Broncos head coach Sean Payton ripped his predecessor, Nathaniel Hackett -- the current Jets offensive coordinator who was fired in his first season as Denver's head coach after a 4-11 start. Payton called Hackett's run in 2022 "."
That made Sunday's game between the two teams personal, and the Jets prevailed, 31-21, in large part due to running back Breece Hall, who rushed for 177 yards, including a 72-yard score, on 22 carries.
Hackett chose to avoid commenting on the revenge narrative after the game, telling 9News, "Not saying anything about that. All I'll say is glad we won the game." However, others shared their thoughts after the Jets dropped the Broncos to 1-4 on the year.
All of the team's players and coaches were fully aware of Payton's comments, as almost everyone on the sideline made their way over to Hackett for hugs and handshakes after the game. Head coach Robert Saleh also honored Hackett by giving him a game ball.
Injured Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who worked with Hackett for three seasons with the Green Bay Packers when Hackett was Green Bay's offensive coordinator, tweeted out his support of Hackett right after the game concluded. Star cornerback Sauce Gardner was also clearly amped up after the win.
Jets Country.......LETS RIDE🐴— SAUCE GARDNER (@iamSauceGardner) October 8, 2023
New York won the turnover battle by one, forcing three while only committing two. Shortly after the win, Gang Green's social media team had jokes ready to roll.
Payton's preseason comments also inferred the Jets were crowning themselves too early with their acquisition of Aaron Rodgers to their team that had a top-five scoring defense in 2022. So, the Jets referenced that dig by putting actor Kevin James in Broncos gear since James played Payton in the Netflix movie "Home Team", a movie about what Payton did coaching his then-12-year-old son Connor's football team during his 2012 season suspension. He was suspended because of the Saints' BountyGate scandal.
The Jets social team didn't stop there, however. Payton had some unique rules for his starters during the preseason: no taking off their uniforms after they were done playing, no sunglasses, no bucket hats and no interviews during the game. The Jets posted a picture of their top receiver, Garrett Wilson, violating all of those rules back in the preseason shortly after their game in Week 5 went final on Sunday.
Safe to say Payton should stay away from social media for the next few days.