Back-to-back blunders by ex-trojans Sanchez and McKnight give all the momentum to the Broncos, as a Tebow-led 95-yard drive in the final minutes is capped by a Tebow game-winning TD run to upset the Jets, 17-13
With the Jets leading the Broncos 10-3 in the 3rd quarter, all New York had to do was avoid mistakes, and they looked like they had a victory. The Jet Defense was completely dominating Tim Tebow and the Bronco Offense, who hadn’t done ANYTHING since a first-drive FG. Tebow looked horrible, missing wide-open Receivers, and not being able to orchestrate any kind of a Running game either.
So the Jets had the ball, looking to make it an insurmountable, two-possession lead, Then Mark Sanchez reared his ugly head. Sanchez threw a horrible pass into tight coverage, and the Denver D-back broke on the ball, snagged it, juggled it, controlled it, and took it all the way back for a Pick Six and a tie ballgame.
That huge play turned the whole game around, and energized a raucous Mile High crowd into a frenzy. The momentum had swung, and suddenly, the Broncos knew they could win the game. Then, TEN SECONDS LATER, on the ensuing Kickoff, Returner Joe McKnight FUMBLED the ball, allowing Denver to recover in good field position. Denver failed to capitalize, but the good emotion and energy carried over to the 4th quarter for the Broncos.
New York mustered a Field Goal to take a 13-10 lead, but Sanchez couldn’t get the team into the end zone. In fact, NO SKILL PLAYER for the Jets scored all night. Their only Touchdown came when an Offensive Lineman recovered a fumble in the End Zone. Sanchez’ inability to make a big play came back to haunt him, when they ended up punting the ball back to Denver with under 6 minutes left in the game. That’s when Tebow and company took over at their own 5-yard line.
Tebow’s arm is still suspect at the NFL level, but he managed to complete a couple of short passes, and the rest, he did with his legs. First, he ran for a few key First Downs to march his team down the field. Then, in the Red Zone with a minute to go, he swept around the left end, getting outside of the blitz, breaking a tackle, and fighting his way into the Pray Zone for 6 points.
That left Sanchez with just under a minute and two timeouts, to do the same thing Tebow did. But Sanchez didn’t display the same heart that Tebow did. Instead, Sanchez made bad decisions, showed poor clock management, and allowed himself to get sacked. He did complete a long 4th Down conversion, but that was his swan song, as a subsequent Hail Mary to the End Zone fell harmlessly to the ground.
To make matters worse for the two trojan goats, this is THE SECOND GAME IN A ROW in which both Sanchez and McKnight have coughed up costly Turnovers. Last week, their THREE miscues blew the Jets’ chances against the rival Patriots. Jet management may suddenly be questioning their personnel decisions. They have three ex-trojans on the roster, including ineffective and seldom-used Wide Receiver Patrick Turner, and the Jets as a team are not coming close to living up to everyone’s expectations for this season. However, it is not entirely the fault of the General Manager — McKnight is only playing at Running Back because the two guys ahead of him on the depth chart are both injured. But McKnight’s two fumbles were on Kickoffs, so those injuries are only partly responsible for the gaffes: Maybe McKnight was tired tonight because of all the extra, unusual playing time.
Regardless, the trojan duo should be getting an earful this week from the usually unforgiving New York fanbase. Sanchez really slumped in the Second Half, after earlier completing a career-high 11 passes in a row. That just shows that he has the physical tools, but maybe lacks the steely Tebow winning resolve. When an uncalled late hit in Sanchez’ back had him wobbly late in the game, Jet fans watching on TV were probably praying for the back-up to start warming up. Instead, Sanchez returned, failed to execute, and in the end, it was Tebow praying, after scoring the game-clinching Touchdown. Maybe Sanchez — who has a MUCH better ARM than Tebow — should pray too… for a SACK the size of Tebow’s, and the ability to avoid the QB Sacks, and Pick Six’s, that have now cost his team two consecutive games.