It took 95 yards, five minutes and an unstoppable Tim Tebow to quite possibly put an end to the Jets’ playoff dreams.
You could charitably call it a defensive struggle, but either way the Broncos beat the Jets, 17-13, last night.
The centerpiece coming into the game was Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow versus Rex Ryan’s defense. Ryan’s crew had the upperhand most of the game.
Not on the final drive.
Up 13-10, with the Broncos unable to muster any offense all night, Tebow took over on his own 5-yard line with 5:54 remaining.
The Jets came inches from a safety when Jim Leonhard missed tackling Eddie Royal in the end zone on a wide receiver screen. He broke free and got some breathing room. From there, Tebow rushed for 57 yards, including the 20-yard go-ahead touchdown on third and four from the 20.
The Jets’ only score of the night came when Bilal Powell fumbled trying to go into the end zone and guard Matt Slausson fell on it for a score.
Sanchez had a chance to drive the Jets down for the winning score, but with 58 seconds remaining he couldn’t play the hero.
Three good ...
1 Limiting Tebow: It seemed like a harbinger of things to come when Denver pieced together two emphatic opening drives that looked likely to set the tone for the game. But after that, the Jets limited Denver to just 11 yards of total offense the rest of the half.
2 From the break: Sanchez orchestrated an eight-play drive that featured six throws and resulted in Matt Slauson recovering a Bilal Powell fumble for a one-yard touchdown and a 10-3 lead coming out of halftime. It was a rare moment where the Jets’ timing on offense and Sanchez’s protection all came together.
3 Better from Sanchez: A mere 96 hours removed from completing just 51 percent of his passes and throwing two touchdowns against the Pats, Mark Sanchez was effective against Denver, even with no ground game to supplement the passing attack. Although the final drive came up short, it was a positive night for Sanchez.
Three bad ...
1 Locked in: As has been the theme for much of the season when the Jets’ offense has stumbled, it was Sanchez being his own worst enemy. Midway through the third quarter and up 10-3. Sanchez locked in on his first read and cornerback Andre Goodman stepped forward for the pick six to even the score.
2 Not a great Knight: Two weeks ago, Joe McKnight was named the October AFC Special Teams Player of the Month. Since then, he muffed a punt last week against New England and then fumbled a third quarter kickoff return against Denver last night. It killed a great scoring chance.
3 With all the cards down: When it mattered most, the Jets allowed Tebow to make plays. Marching down the field, Tebow pulled the strings on a 95 yard drive inside the games final six minutes, leaving the Jets just 58 seconds on the clock to try and orchestrate a comeback. It was a heaven sent moment for the Broncos.