The Denver Broncos earned their first win of the season on Thursday night by taking down the New York Jets 37-28. Once the game was over, Broncos head coach Vic Fangio directed his team straight to the locker room instead of shaking hands with Jets players. That makes sense during a COVID-19 pandemic, but when talking about the move with reporters, Fangio revealed a different reason for the decision.
"There was just a couple of personal fouls there at the end and our sideline was getting pissed off about it," Fangio said as reported by NFL.com. "I just wanted to avoid any confrontation at the end of the game and having it get ugly there. So, I tried to get our guys to leave quickly just to avoid anything happening there. I thought it was the prudent thing to do." Fangio didn't shake Jets head coach Adam Gase's hand as he was directing his players to get to the visiting tunnel.
Broncos HC Vic Fangio appeared to direct his team off of the field right as the clock hit 0:00 without interacting with the Jets at the end of tonight's game. pic.twitter.com/ffIoRM3B1K— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) October 2, 2020
Both teams entered the game winless, which led to the Jets being frustrated towards the end of the game. Late in the fourth quarter, Jets defensive lineman Steve McLendon got a big hit on Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien. One play earlier, McLendon hit Rypien after the Jets jumped offsides. That led to Broncos players yelling at the Jets from their sideline.
"I saw those guys start going off and I heard Vic yelling at his guys saying 'get in the locker room,' so I saw what was going on," Gase said. "I think he was just trying to make sure we didn't have any kind of melee. It was getting heated." Gase also commented on the penalties and late hits on Rypien. "Penalties were just, they were brutal," he added. "When we did hit him, we're hitting him late, too late, and we're getting personal fouls. It's just ridiculous."
The Jets are now 0-4 on the season and their hopes of reaching the playoffs are all but over. Gase is only in his second year as the Jets head coach, but there are rumblings about his job being on the line once the season comes to an end. The Broncos were in need of the win on Thursday night as they look to climb back into the AFC West race that includes the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs.