Of all the people who should know better, it's Rex Ryan.
Ryan had three opportunities to save the game and the Jets season in the fourth quarter Monday night and passed on all of them. In the end, the Jets lost 23-17 to the undefeated Houston Texans, and the Jets season continues to slip away with Sanchez at quarterback.
With the Jets down 23-14 with 13 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Tim Tebow took the ball, bulldozed his way through the Texans line, ran over three Texan defenders, dragged them another three yards for a 13 yard gain and a first down at the Houston three yard line. The stadium was alive. It had Tebow time written all over it.
After a hurried up play which went for no gain, Rex Ryan did the inexplicable. He took out Tebow and put Sanchez back in the game. You know what happens next. Two incomplete passes by Sanchez that had no chance of being completed and the Jets had to settle for a field goal that cut the lead to six. The momentum was gone.
Rex Ryan should have known better.
Yet another opportunity presented itself with nine minutes to go in the fourth. The banged up Jets defense once again valiantly stopped the explosive Texans offense, offering another chance for Ryan to put Tebow in to save the game.
Yet Sanchez was back on the field. The Jets had great field position at their own 42 yard line, but couldn't move the ball deep into Texan's territory. Another punt, another wasted opportunity.
Once again the Jets proceeded to stop the Texans from doing anything on offense, giving the ball back to the Jets with a little over three minutes to go in the game, still down six points.
Ryan had a choice. A choice that could turn around not only this game, but the entire season. He could put an ineffective Sanchez back in as quarterback, or he could have looked to his bench and put in a quarterback who in late fourth quarter situations becomes the human NFL Redzone Channel.
Ryan chose Sanchez. The results were obvious. Sanchez was picked off in Jets territory with 1:51 left, and the game was essentially over. To be fair, the interception wasn't Sanchez's fault, but does anyone think the drive would have ended any different?
What makes Rex Ryan's decision to put Sanchez back on the field even more baffling, is that of all the people who should know how Tebow can put a team on his back late in the fourth quarter and turn an entire season around, it's Ryan and the Jets.
Last year against the Broncos, Tebow had the ball on his own four yard line with over five minutes to go with the Jets up three. The Broncos quarterback then proceeded to take his offense on a 96 yard drive, capped off by a 20 yard touchdown run by Tebow. This Tebow drive won the game and saved his team's season.
Memo to Rex Ryan: That quarterback is now on your team.
Save your season. Start him.
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