NEW YORK The Denver Broncos ended the New York Jets' five-game winning streak with a 34-17 road victory in a showdown of AFC division leaders on Sunday.
Jay Cutler passed for two touchdowns and 357 yards in wet conditions to help the Broncos (7-5) improve their AFC West lead to three games over the San Diego Chargers.
"Some guys get bothered and simply can't throw in the rain," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan told reporters.
"Jay's not one of those. He's not afraid of it at all. Jay played very well under those conditions."
Cutler's 59-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Royals gave the Broncos a 14-7 first-quarter lead and they never trailed. Denver sealed the win with Cutler's TD throw of 36 yards to Brandon Stokley in the fourth quarter.
The Jets (8-4) hung on to top spot in the AFC East despite the defeat, after the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the New England Patriots 33-10 on Sunday.
New England (7-5) could have gained a share of the AFC lead with a win and a Jets defeat. Pittsburgh (9-3) kept the AFC North lead with their third consecutive win.
New York quarterback Brett Favre struggled in the wet conditions a week after he inspired the Jets to end the Tennessee Titans' unbeaten start to the season.
The 39-year-old Favre failed to complete a touchdown pass and was intercepted once.
Cutler said playing in the same game with his childhood idol was a special treat.
"Brett's one of the greatest players ever and I've been a fan of his for a long time," Cutler said.
"I was able to talk to him before and after the game. He gave me some nice compliments. But trying to keep up with him is pretty hard to do."
Thomas Jones scored both of the Jets' touchdowns and rushed for 138 yards.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Ed Osmond and Martin Petty)