Broncos 17 Jets 13: Season Spirals Out of Control in Denver

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 17: Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos celebrates his 20 yard touchdown run against the New York Jets in the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 17, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Jets are 5-5, and their season perhaps reached a negative tipping point tonight when they lost 17-13 in the final minute to the Broncos. The defense dominated until it really needed to. The offense could not finish a drive, and special teams were uneven. Comparing these two teams on paper, one could only conclude that the game should not have been close. Watching Tim Tebow for any extended portion of this game, one can only conclude that this game should not have been close. It was just that, however. Join me after the jump when we break down this catastrophe.

The Bad:

Eric Smith: We can start with the guy who lost contain on the winning touchdown run by Tebow. Smith is allegedly a smart player. He knew it was an all out blitz with nobody back. He knew he was the outside guy, and that no matter what he did he could not let Tebow get the corner on him. That happened, though. Add in poor coverage that Denver did not fully exploit, and you have a bad game. I was expecting him to shine against a run heavy team. If he cannot perform in this game, can he play well against anybody? The coaching staff loves him, but he is just not that good.

Jim Leonhard: He made some good plays covering for people early and all the right decisions on punt returns, but he had the game in his hands on the first play of that last drive when he missed a tackle for a safety on Eddie Royal. It is not an easy play, but Leonhard usually makes it.

Calvin Pace: Got lost on a few option plays.

David Harris: He made some plays, but if you watch the game over, you will notice that he got beaten on the few plays Denver put together early.

Antonio Cromartie: He got beaten more than he should have in coverage. A better quarterback would have made him pay. He also went nowhere on that last kickoff return, although I am not sure why the Jets put him out there instead of Joe McKnight.

Mark Sanchez: The numbers look ok, but there were little things that kept Sanchez from having a truly good game. There was the throw that would have been a touchdown to Santonio Holmes had he hit him in stride. The same goes for the one to Bilal Powell later that drive. He could have picked up fifteen more yards on a bootleg throw to Dustin Keller had he gotten it out earlier and given Keller a chance to run before defenders diagnosed the play. He could have hung in the pocket and delivered a pass to Holmes to extend the drive if he was just willing to take a hit. The interception was mainly on him also. He stared down a covered receiver. That ball can never be thrown. Sanchez got hit a lot, and it showed. It is clear he is a guy who struggles when he has too much time to think. He is jittery in the pocket. He is better when he does not have time to think and is asked to do something like run the hurry up, run a play action fake, or roll out.

Use of Joe McKnight: Until the fourth quarter, it seemed like the Jets were intent on running him between the tackles. They should have made more of an effort to get him to the edge with balls in space. His attributes are speed and agility. It felt like the Jets used him the way they planned to use Shonn Greene.

Bilal Powell: Let us not give up on him after eight touches, but he did not show much of an ability to read his blocks, hit his holes, or make people miss. The fumble on the goal line was almost a catastrophe.

Offensive Line: Four sacks and countless hits on Sanchez, including one on a throw with a one step drop. These guys also got no push in the run game. The issue with the ground attack was not Shonn Greene's injury. Joe McKnight did what he could. There were just no holes with McKnight in there.

Wayne Hunter: I single him out because he in particular really struggled. The sack on the last drive where he got run over was cringe worthy, but he had issues all night. He blew an assignment blocking down that led to Matthew Mulligan working one on one with Elvis Dumervil. Hunter is a journeyman. He plays great sometimes and awful others. He is a great backup, but an upgrade is necessary when he is starting.

Plaxico Burress: He was big on the opening drive of the second half, but he made some really bad plays otherwise from the penalty to not getting his feet in. He also was partially to blame for the interception. He needs to help his quarterback out and come to the ball.

Rex Ryan's Timeouts: You take one to prevent a 21 yard field goal into a 26 yard one, but you do not take one to save time at the end of the half before Denver punts? The Jets surely could have used that extra timeout in their two minute drill along with the extra time.

Dustin Keller: He had 5 catches for 40 yards, but he is making mental errors as a blocker and running sloppy routes as a receiver.

Brian Schottenheimer: Not getting McKnight outside more, the direct snap, which was running a trick play with a sub, the lack of development from his hand chosen pupil, fill in the rest of the blanks. The 2011 New York Jets: Offense loaded at the skill positions, but our left guard scores the only touchdown of a game.

The Good:

Defensive Line: Sione Pouha, Mike Devito, Muhammad Wilkerson, Ropati Pitoitua, and Kenrick Ellis really dominated the point of attack when they were in there and shut down the run game until Tebow went nuts on the last drive. Even with that final drive, Denver averaged under four yards per rush. Devito in particular was getting great penetration and redirecting carriers into tacklers all evening.

Darrelle Revis: He did not have the most difficult assignment, but he made quick work of the men he covered.

Kyle Wilson: Ditto.

Donald Strickland: Saved a touchdown with a shoestring tackle on the big kick return.

Patrick Turner: I think he blew the tackle that led to the big return, but he had some big catches and finished with 3 for 36 yards.

Santonio Holmes: Only 4 catches for 39 yards, but he gave Denver's secondary fits. Some better quarterbacking and he has a huge game.

Matt Slauson: Finding the ball and scoring that touchdown was head's up.

Joe McKnight: The fumble ended up not hurting the team. He only ran for 3.7 yards, but he made the most of what he had. There were a few plays that probably should have gone for a loss based on the blocking but he turned into positive gains. He made things happen when he got the ball in space. He ended up with 122 yards from scrimmage. Maybe the Jets will actually try more of this playing the most explosive player on the team on offense thing. He should have gone out of bounds on a play in the last minute, but it was probably a lost cause then anyway.

Nick Folk: Missed a pair of tough kicks, although he almost snuck the 61 yarder through. He hit the other two.

T.J. Conley: The first punt cost the Jets a field goal, but he hit some big kicks after that, including one from the shadow of his own goal post and another to pin the Broncos deep before the final drive.

Other Thought:

  • I didn't mind the fake spike. Champ Bailey made a great play. It was about a foot from everybody praising Sanchez's smarts.

 

I told you the other night that my gut told me the Jets were done. It is tough to argue with that now. If you are saying this team will turn it around, you just have blind hope. If you read this site, you know that I am not one to jump off a cliff at the first sign of trouble. I am also not one to pour Kool-Aid when things are bleak, though. I dare anybody objectively watching this game to tell me Tim Tebow is one of the worst quarterbacks to play in the NFL this century and is not on the magic carpet ride of the lifetime. Well, tonight the Jets could not even figure out how to beat that guy.

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