Good versus evil was not on display Thursday night in Denver.
It was more like extreme belief versus utter lack of confidence.
While Tim Tebow continues to win games for the Broncos while only playing one quarter of watchable football, Mark Sanchez is contributing to losses in a variety of ways.
At one point during the Broncos’ 17-13 victory over the Jets on Thursday night, Sanchez was actually 11-for-11. But he overthrew a wide open Dustin Keller in the back of the end zone to snap the streak in the third quarter and then threw an awful pick-six to Andre Goodman that completely turn the game around. (Granted, Plaxico Burress didn’t run a very good route but Sanchez should have never thrown the ball in the first place.)
Up until Goodman’s interception, the Jets were in complete control of the game. Sure they only led 10-3, but Tebow and the Denver offense was regularly booed off the field because of its ineffectiveness. Tebow’s fourth quarter magic aside, he was brutal. He missed open receivers throughout the night and couldn’t take advantage of outstanding field position on several occasions.
But he also hung tough, waited for his moment to shine and then marched the Broncos the length of the field for a game-winning score. Denver took the lead on Tebow’s magnificent 20-yard scramble in which he read the blitz, beat contain and steamrolled into the end zone. If Sanchez were in a similar situation and had to go 90-plus yards to bring the Jets back, I’m not sure he could do it right now.
Following the game, the NFL Network TV crew welcomed Tebow to the set and fired questions at the youngster while the Denver crowd shouted his name. Try as the analysts did to get Tebow to say something along the lines of, “Hey fellas, I have know idea how I’m 4-1 right now without being able to complete a pass,” the young quarterback was unwavering with his responses. He dished out enormous credit to his teammates, God, and even squeezed in a comment about how football takes a backseat to the hospital he’s funding in the Philippines. Dude is unbelievable.
Then the NFL Network switched to Sanchez’s postgame press conference. He looked sullen, just as any quarterback who lost a game would. But as Marshall Faulk said afterwards, Sanchez looked like someone who had completely lost all confidence in his abilities. And while the Jets have overcome their quarterback’s limitations before, keep in mind that their running game isn’t there this year to save Sanchez from himself. They’ve had to rely on him to make plays and he hasn’t delivered.
An average quarterback would have beaten Tim Tebow’s Broncos last night. But thanks to Sanchez, the Jets kept Denver in the game just long enough for Tebow to walk on water one more time. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the biblical reference.)
If Sanchez doesn’t dig deep and start playing with Tebow-esq confidence then the Jets are finished.