One of the biggest questions asked at the end of the week was about the use of Jets backup QB Tim Tebow, but the third-year man from Florida did nothing to help the Jets win this game. Used sparingly other than his primary duty on punt team, Tebow watched Mark Sanchez with a headset on for most of the evening.
He finished the afternoon with four carries for 12 yards.
Stephen Gostkowski nailed two fields goals, one as time expired in the fourth quarter and one to open the overtime, that gave New England the win and the AFC East lead.
After falling behind 23-13, the Jets ripped off 13 straight points to be in position steal this game away from New England in the closing minutes. Capped off by a Devin McCourty fumble on a kickoff return, the Jets were able to capitalize on turnovers to take a late lead.
But Tom Brady led drives at the end of regulation and during New England's first overtime possession that resulted in the two field goals, foiling the comeback and helping the Pats escape with a win.
Since the Jets are now built to include storylines about Tebow every week, this week it was suggested he would see time at running back in various packages to confuse the Pats' defense. Coach Bill Belichick even suggested that he was a focal point of the team's defensive plan, but it wasn't to be in this rivalry game.
It wasn't as if situations didn't present themselves to the Jets on Sunday; short-yardage situations riddled this game for the Jets.
At least two separate times near the goal line, New York chose to keep Tebow on the sideline and avoid running the Wild Jet package. The strategy worked once in the fourth quarter, but the Jets had to settle for a field goal in the third quarter. Those four points might have made the difference on Sunday.
Late in the game, the Jets chose to bring Tebow out for a first-down run after recovering the McCourty fumble. He got minimal yardage, and the package was abandoned as New York settled for a Nick Folk field goal and a late lead.
To make matters worse, Shonn Greene had to leave this game with an injury in the third quarter. Bilal Powell was already out, making Lex Hillard and Joe McKnight the only backs on the roster. Greene returned in overtime, but there wasn't even a nod toward Tebow's general vicinity.
Even ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith, a noted cynic on the Tebow matter, considers the possibility that this team isn't making the kind of coaching moves that benefit their offense.
Absolutely right on the Broadcast for CBS: it's perfect for @timtebow to be used. He should've been used in the Red Zone earlier. Ridiculous— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) October 21, 2012
The return of Dustin Keller from injury and the emergence of Greene in the running game have helped make Tebow irrelevant. Mark Sanchez also tore up the Pats' secondary, finishing with 328 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
It's hard to suggest Tebow should have been a major factor, but so far the team has come up empty when gambling with his playing time.
This game should confirm what we've seen through the first seven weeks of this NFL season: Not only is Tebow not an option at the QB position right now, but he's also not a package guy, either. Twelve yards rushing isn't enough to even consider Tebow a role player in this offense going forward.
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