The Jets Fail Late, Tebow Leads Broncos to Win

Jets defense flops in final minutes and their offense flops all night long

By Josh Alper
|  Friday, Nov 18, 2011  |  Updated 4:59 AM PDT
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The Jets bragged all week that they could handle Tim Tebow.

They couldn't have been more wrong.

On the biggest play of the night, Tebow beat a Jets blitz around the corner and ran 20 yards for the winning touchdown with 58 seconds left to play.

Understanding exactly why the Jets, protecting a 13-10 lead, would send the house on a third and four in that situation is a question that does not have any acceptable answer.

All you had to do was make sure that the Broncos got nothing more than a field goal at that point in the game, and the Jets had to try for the big play instead of the smart play.

And they got a 17-13 loss to a team that had no business beating them as a result. For nearly 60 minutes they crushed everything the Broncos tried to do offensively, but they couldn't make one play with the game on the line. They lost because of it.

That means they are 5-5 with flickering chances of making the playoffs because they simply cannot figure out a way to play good football on a weekly basis. This is as inexplicable as a loss gets, but it still feels all too familiar for a Jets team that can't seem to stay out of its own way long enough to build on success this season.

You have to wonder if this is the loss that breaks the camel's back for Ryan. Not only did he completely blow the game on the final defensive series, but the team was able to accomplish absolutely nothing offensively once again.

At some point, the failure to build an offense around Mark Sanchez and the failure to develop Sanchez into a competent NFL quarterback must fall on Ryan. Brian Schottenheimer deserves some blame, but Ryan is the one keeping him employed. There are only so many excuses you can make for a guy who cannot find a way to score enough points to win games when the defense — dreadful as the last series was — dominates the opposition for the majority of the game.

The Broncos were alive only because Sanchez threw a brutal pick-six to Andre Goodman and the defense kept Denver from getting so much as a first down for most of the second half. But the offense couldn't take advantage and left the door open just wide enough for Tebow to run through it for a touchdown.

Even if the Jets rally in the next couple of weeks, how in the world can you put your faith in a team that can't win a game against an offense like this when losing puts them in such dire straits? How can you believe in a team that runs an offense that's almost as pathetic as the one that Denver ran all night, only without the messianic ending that makes it easy to forget just how sad Tebow's performance was until the final moments? 

You can't, which means you can't believe in the 2011 Jets.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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