- Posted: 6:37 PM, November 21, 2011
Here is a look at that drive with some quotes from the Jets, who watched the film of the game Monday:
The Broncos take over at their own 5 after a T.J. Conley punt. They are trailing 13-10. The Jets defense had shut the Broncos down all night, holding them to 134 yards before this drive. Tebow had 11 yards rushing entering the drive.
1st and 10 at DEN 5 (5:54 to play)
(shotgun) Tebow short pass right to Eddie Royal pushed out of bounds at the 13 for 8 yards (Darrelle Revis tackle)
The Broncos came out with three wide receivers, a running back and a tight end. The Jets countered with their nickel package. Royal went in motion from the left side to the backfield. Jets safety Jim Leonhard sniffed out the play. He was playing deep (at about the 22) and began running toward the line before the ball was snapped. Tebow threw a little flare out to Royal, who stopped at the goal line to make Leonhard miss.
If Leonhard had tackled him, it looked like it could have been a safety. Leonhard said he had seen the play on film and felt if he had been closer to normal position, he could have made the play. Sprinting from as deep as he was left him a little out of control when he got to Royal.
"I knew it was one of those situations where I came from a long way but I was just trying to take a shot," Leonhard said. "At the time, I thought he was in the end zone. I thought I was going to have a shot. I thought I had a chance to end it right there. It's one of those where you try to take your shot and I ended up missing it."
2nd and 2 at DEN 13 (5:25)
Tebow right tackle to 28 for 15 yards (Smith)
The Broncos lined up with two receivers, two backs and a tight end on the wing. The Jets had their base 3-4 defense in.
The Broncos ran the straight option to the left side. Jets linebacker Calvin Pace got caught between Tebow and the pictch-man, Lance Ball. Tebow saw Pace's hesitation and turned it up for a long gain.
1st and 10 at DEN 28 (4:43)
(shotgun) Tebow short pass left to Demaryius Thomas pushed out of bounds at DEN 37 for 9 yards (Antonio Cromartie)
Tebow had shown little ability to pass all game, but the Broncos had a nice design here. They had five receivers on the field, with four split to the right side, shifting most of the Jets defense to that side. That left Thomas left with single coverage by Cromartie.
Thomas ran a little comeback route that gave Tebow an easy completion moving toward his left. Suddenly, it seemed like Tebow might be able to pull another miracle off.
"We put ourselves in a situation where that's when the kid had played well," Leonhard said. "You look at the five games I think Tebow has started he's played really inconsistently until the last drive of the game and he's played well. We put ourselves in a situation. Just add us to the list of teams he's done that to."
2nd and 1 at DEN 37 (4:36)
(shotgun) Tebow pass incomplete deep left to Thomas
The Broncos liked the design of the last play so much, they went to it again. Same formation and Tebow targeted Cromartie again, but this pass fell incomplete on a back-shoulder throw to Thomas that was off target. Jets linebacker Bart Scott blitzed from Tebow's left this time and may have sped up the throw.
It looked like linebacker David Harris "spied" Tebow on this play, expecting a quarterback draw.
3rd and 1 at DEN 37 (4:32)
(shotgun) Tebow right guard to DEN 44 for 7 yards (Revis, Eric Smith)
The first of two third downs the Broncos would face on the drive. The Broncos were 1-for-11 on third down before this drive.
The Broncos came out in the same spread formation, and the Jets were in nickel. This was a Tebow keeper where the Broncos line blocked left, Tebow read the hole and went right. The key block was tackle Orlando Franklin on defensive end Mike DeVito. When Tebow saw DeVito get blocked in, there was a hole for him on the outside.
1st and 10 at DEN 44 (3:53)
(shotgun) Tebow scrambles right end to NYJ 47 for 9 yards (Marcus Dixon)
This time the Broncos flipped the formation, moving four receivers to the left and having one to the right. The Jets substituted along the line, bringing in Kenrick Ellis and Dixon for Sione Pouha and DeVito.
Tebow looked to pass, but was flushed out by Muhammad Wilkerson and a blitzing Scott. He found open room to run along the sideline, then put his shoulder down, got past Revis, and gained a few extra yards. Revis came up small on the play, looking like he was bracing for contact.
2nd and 1 at NYJ 47 (3:45)
(shotgun) Tebow up the middle to NYJ 44 for 3 yards (Josh Mauga)
The Broncos had an empty backfield again, and called a designed run for Tebow. It looked like Harris anticipated the play, but guard Chris Kuper pulled and put a nice block on Harris. Ellis had a shot at stopping Tebow near the line of scrimmage but went high and with an arm tackle. Mauga was in for Scott on the play.
1st and 10 at NYJ 44 (3:02)
(shotgun) Tebow pass incomplete short left to Thomas
Denver went back to targeting Cromartie with Thomas running another comeback route, but Tebow threw it off his back foot into the dirt. Pouha came back into the game for Ellis on this play. The Broncos ran some clock off before snapping the ball as they moved closer to field goal range.
2nd and 10 at NYJ 44 (2:57)
(shotgun) Tebow pass deep left to Dante Rosario to NYJ 26 for 18 yards (Smith)
The Broncos changed up the formation here, bringing Rosario in at tight end and having a running back on the field. They motioned Royal from the right side of the formation the same way they did on the first play of this drive. Leonhard was closer to the line this time, and was right on Royal as the ball was snapped.
Tebow faked a handoff, then spotted Rosario on a crossing route in front of Smith, who made a nice diving catch of the pass to move the Broncos into field-goal range. DeVito nearly had a sack here, hitting Tebow as he released the ball. Yet another missed opportunity on the drive for the Jets.
1st and 10 at NYJ 26 (2:31)
Lance Ball up the middle to NYJ 20 for 3 yards (Pouha)
Tebow lines up under center for the first time since the second play of the drive. The Broncos speed things up before the two-minute warning. This was a simple dive up the middle that pushed the Broncos closer.
This led to the two-minute warning.
"We expect to have a dominant defense for 60 minutes," Jets coach Rex Ryan said, "not 58 minutes or whatever it was."
TWO MINUTE WARNING
2nd and 7 at NYJ 23 (2:00)
(shotgun) Tebow up the middle to NYJ 20 for 3 yards (Pouha)
The Broncos went back to the empty backfield and ran a quarterback draw. The Jets were ready for this one and stopped him up the middle.
This play may have set up the Jets' thinking for the final play, when they seemed to be expecting another Tebow run up the middle.
3rd and 4 at NYJ 20 (1:06)
(shotgun) Tebow left end for 20 yards. Touchdown.
Something interesting happened before the snap of the ball on this play. A fan ran onto the field causing a stoppage. During that time, both teams changed their approach a little bit.
Initially, the Broncos lined up with two receivers and a tight end to the right and a running back and receiver to Tebow's left. They flipped the formation after the brief timeout.
The Jets changed personnel from their run-stoppers to their pass defenders up front. Ropati Pitoitua, Pouha, DeVito and Scott came out of the game. Dixon, Wilkerson, Mauga and Jamaal Westeraman came into the game. Ryan said Monday that they just wanted to give a different look and he did not change the call.
That defensive call was a "gap-eight" blitz where eight men blitzed leaving three in coverage. It was a passing play, but Tebow read the defense and sprinted around the left end on his way to the end zone.
Smith is the player that has taken the brunt of the blame on the play since he was coming from the outside. Smith said his responsibility on the play was the tight end Rosario. If Rosario blocked down, Smith was supposed to blitz. Rosario initially froze, leaving Smith with a decision to make. He began chasing Tebow but took a bad angle.
"We know playing this position that anything goes wrong it ends up being on us," Smith said. "We're the last line of defense, whether we have anything to do with what got messed up or not. It's tough because you never want to lose. You never want to be part of something that costs you the game. It was definitely tough to come in and watch it."
Ryan explained the call on Monday.
"I think we wanted to try to dictate," Ryan said. "We've ran that blitz sometimes in other games as well. It's one that's been really good to us. We'll never call a defensive play that we don't feel great about. In that situation, we thought it was the right call. The kid just made a great individual play. He really did."
Smith actually recovered after his initial blitz to chase Tebow and nearly get a shoestring tackle at the 5. Cromartie and Kyle Wilson were in the end zone but never got loose from their blockers.
Ryan defended Smith.
"I'll bet on Eric Smith every day of the week," Ryan said.
Leonhard said since the Broncos were in field-goal range already, the Jets were expecting a run from Tebow.
"The thing was they had been running it up inside," Leonhard said. "He would have been killed [if he ran up the middle]. All of a sudden, [Smith] is kind of closing on the tight end and he just took off right away. It's frustrating. I don't think it was a terrible call but it obviously hurt us. We didn't get him on the ground. Even if you give up a first down, you've just got to do what you can to get him on the ground."