There are certain games that define a season.
For the 2009 New York Jets, it was the Indianapolis Colts resting Peyton Manning for the second half in Week 17, allowing the Jets to assert their will and sneak into the playoffs.
The 2010 Jets had their day in Foxboro when they defeated the New England Patriots to advance to the AFC Championship Game.
2011? You just watched it.
The 17-13 loss to the Denver Broncos didn’t just drop the Jets to 5-5; it dropped them out of the Playoff race.
And for every critic of Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez out there today, it was the Jets defense that allowed Tim Tebow to drive 95 yards on 12 plays, including a game winning 20 yard TD rush, to win the game.
Make no mistake, Sanchez was not good Thursday night. But a playoff team doesn’t let Tebow go 95 yards in the games final minutes to win the game.
After completing 1-of-8 passes in the third quarter and running only two times for 11 yards in the game, Tebow and the Broncos, down 13-10 with less than six minutes remaining, had the ball at their 5-yard line.
Game. Set. Match.
What happened instead was something that will stay with the Jets all season.
Tebow would run six times on the drive for 57 yards and complete 3-of-5 passes for 35 yards.
The key play came on a third-and-4 at the Jets 20.
Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy called for Tebow to drop back.
Jets coach Rex Ryan called an all-out blitz.
“When I saw that all-out blitz, I was like, ‘That is so stupid,’ ” Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said. “They hadn’t really done that all day. Once he broke the contain, that’s a wrap.”
“I like winning,” Tebow said. “I wish it wasn’t quite that stressful.”
“Tebow magic,” said Broncos linebacker Von Miller, who had 1 1/2 sacks to give him 9 1/2 in 10 games. “I believe in it. I feel so happy that he’s having the success that he’s having. I’m glad he’s able to shut up his critics. It seems like everybody wants to bash him. They don’t take into account his will.”