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In a span of five days, the Jets have gone from controlling their destiny for home field in the playoffs to potentially missing the playoffs all together. The Jets’ defense played great for 55 minutes on Thursday, but couldn’t stop Tebow on the final drive. Tebow capped a 95 yard drive with a 20 yard touchdown run with 58 seconds left to stun the Jets and give the Broncos the 17-13 victory.
“I like winning,” Tebow said after his third comeback in a month, “but I wish it wasn’t this stressful. Before the “drive,” the Broncos had punted on their eight previous possessions and Tebow seemed unable to do anything against the Jets defense. He then got the ball with less than six minutes and calmly engineered a 95 yard drive in which he had 57 yards on the ground.
“We played them well through the whole game, until that last play,” Jets star cornerback Darrelle Revis said. “We played them well. Tim Tebow’s legs took them to victory, ran them to victory.”
It was third and four from the Jets 20 with just over a minute left when the Broncos got a “timeout” when a fan ran onto the field and had to be chased by security. During this break the Jets made the decision to call their first all-out blitz of the night, a decision that will be talked about for weeks to come.
Tebow took the snap, read the blitz, and beat safety Eric Smith to the edge and cut back to find his way to the end zone. It was a horrible play by Smith who was supposed to set the edge, but came to far inside and couldn’t recover. “You know he’s going to keep it in that situation. That’s what he does. You keep the ball in your playmaker’s hand,” Ryan said.
“We thought he was going to carry the ball and he didn’t disappoint us. But he ran for a touchdown. The kid’s a competitor and makes big plays with the game on the line.” Since Tim Tebow replaced Kyle Orton, the Broncos are 4-1 and have climbed back to .500 a half game behind Oakland for the lead in the AFC West.
“He’s a competitive dude,” Broncos coach John Fox said. “He’s super competitive. He never lays his sword down. He’ll fight you to the death. That’s just his nature. He’s a great young man.” Mark Sanchez heaved it up toward the end zone as time expired, but the pass was batted down dimming the hopes of the Jets to even make the playoffs.
The Jets were up 10-3 when Sanchez made a throw toward Plaxico Burress in which he followed him with his eyes the whole way, that was picked off and returned for a touchdown by Andre’ Goodman to tie the game up. Nick Folk broke that tie with a 45 yard field goal with 9:14 remaining.
The drive could’ve been over on the first play when safety Jim Leonhard had a chance to tackle Eddie Royal in the end zone for a safety, but was unable to wrap him up and Royal gained eight yards and got the drive started. Tebow impressed more with his running than his passing finishing 9 of 20 for 104 yards.
“I said before, I trust him. I trust him with everything,” teammate Von Miller said. “No matter how many interceptions he throws, no matter how many touchdowns he scores, that’s Tim Tebow and I’m going to ride with him to the end. I hope he shut up a whole bunch of critics today.”
Joe McKnight and rookie Bilal Powell had to share snaps for most of the night when Shonn Greene took a knee to the ribs and left the game. He never returned after that and with LaDanian Tomlinson being out already the Jets running back situation is very depleted. “He did it to us in college and he’s doing it here,” said teammate Robert Ayers, who went to Tennessee.
“It doesn’t have to be pretty, it doesn’t have to be Aaron Rodgers-like. As long as we get it done, that’s all that matters.” The Broncos and Tebow look to continue their success in their race for the AFC West and the playoffs when they travel to San Diego to face division rivals the Chargers who have been reeling as of late.
The Jets return home to face the Bills in a must win for the Jets if they want to stay alive in the playoff hunt.
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