Tebow shocks Jets with last minute heroics


Tebow shocks Jets with last minute heroics

From Comcast SportsNet

DENVER (AP)The New York Jets lost containment just once, and Tim Tebow made them pay dearly.

Tebows 20-yard touchdown run with under a minute left capped a 95-yard drive and sent the surging Denver Broncos to a 17-13 victory over the stunned Jets on Thursday night.

Its hard to explain, wide receiver Eric Decker(notes) said. I always say its that It factor. You either got it or you dont. Its almost magical, to come in on that last drive of the game and to do the things that hes done to win a game. Its pretty special.

The Broncos had punted on their eight previous possessions when they got the ball with less than 6 minutes and so far to go. Tebow had just 11 yards on two carries to that point but would tuck it six times for 58 and hit three passes on the dramatic drive.

We played them well, through the whole game, until that last play, Darrelle Revis said.

On third-and-4 from their own 20 and under a minute left, the Jets dialed up their first all-out blitz of the night. Tebow took the snap from the shotgun, read the blitz and outflanked safety Eric Smith around the left edge, then raced into the end zone.

He shocked me, Revis said, probably shocked a lot of people.

Not Jets coach Rex Ryan.

You know hes going to keep it in that situation. Thats what he does. You keep the ball in your playmakers hand, Ryan said. We thought he was going to carry the ball and he didnt disappoint us. But he ran for a touchdown. The kids a competitor and makes big plays with the game on the line.

Both teams are 5-5, but the Jets are reeling from two losses in four nights, dimming their playoff hopes, and the Broncos are rejoicing after climbing within a-half game of the AFC West-leading Oakland Raiders.

Denver is 4-1 since Tebow replaced Kyle Orton, who was 1-4.

Hes a competitive dude, Broncos coach John Fox said. Hes super competitive. He never lays his sword down. Hell fight you to the death. Thats just his nature. Hes a great young man.

If not a great passer. By completing 9 of 20, he still hasnt topped 50 percent in any of his starts and his completion percentage is a paltry 44.8.

Not that it matters muchTebow has four second-half comebacks in his eight NFL starts, including three in the last month, and hes starting to earn a reputation like his boss, John Elway, Denvers original Comeback Kid.

Thats why I wanted to be a quarterback since I was 6 years old, watching guys like John Elway and Steve Young have game-winning drives, Tebow said.

Mark Sanchez has built his own reputation for comebacksseven in the fourth quarter or overtime since Week 6 of last season, tops in the NFL. But he couldnt engineer another on this night.

I let the defense down, however you want to phrase it. Its just an embarrassing day for me, said Sanchez, who was sacked three times, watched a snap sail over his head for a 24-yard loss and threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown.

Still, the Broncos had fallen behind 13-10 on Nick Folks 45-yard field goal with about nine minutes left, and they faced a daunting task when they got the ball back for the last time with 5:54 remaining in the shadow of their own goal line.

Theyd been stopped on downs once, kicked a field goal, lost a fumble and punted eight straight times.

Jim Leonhard nearly quashed Denvers winning drive on the first play when he wrapped up Eddie Royal in the end zone on a throw to the right flat, but Royal wiggled free for 8 yards from the safety.

Tebow ran the two-minute, spread offense to perfection, reminiscent of his miracle in Miami, when he was ineffective for 55 minutes, then led the Broncos to two TDs in the final 5 minutes of a game Denver won in overtime.

I hope he shut up a whole bunch of critics today, said teammate Von Miller.

The debate across the NFL is whether the option is sustainable? After all, when Elway joined the teams front office this year, he said Tebow had to become a pocket passer to make it in this league.

After a debacle against Detroit, three weeks ago, the Broncos decided to mold their offense to Tebows unique skill set, reintroducing the option into the NFL, the system that Tebow perfected at Florida.

I want to run whatevers going to work, Tebow said, disputing the notion advanced by Hall of Famer and TV broadcaster Steve Young that he must be mad that Fox isnt letting him throw the ball more like a conventional quarterback.

Lost in the Tebowmania is Denvers defensive dominance over the last month. Healthy again, the Broncos are giving their quirky quarterback a chance for these thrilling comebacks by keeping games within reach.

Yeah, one thing about that quarterback: hes going to keep grinding, Champ Bailey said. And as a defense, weve just got to keep the team in the game, because in the fourth quarter, you never know what youre going to get.

Were never out of it. Its a good feeling, because I know if were close, weve got a chance.

Before Tebow pulled this one out, it appeared the Jets were going to win thanks to left guard Matt Slausons touchdown. He recovered rookie running back Bilal Powells fumble at the 1 and dived across the goal line early in the third quarter to give New York a 10-3 lead.

I didnt know what to think. At that time, you just feel like a big dumb animal. Youre just like, Oh, ball. And you just grab it and roll in, Slauson said. It was great. But it doesnt mean anything now.

Denver tied it at 10 when Andre Goodman stepped in front of Plaxico Burress and picked off Sanchezs pass and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown.

In Game 1, Jon Lester doesn't quite live up to his World Series reputation: 'We got a long ways to go'

In Game 1, Jon Lester doesn't quite live up to his World Series reputation: 'We got a long ways to go'

CLEVELAND – While the Cubs came into this World Series as the heavy favorites, the team with the global following and baseball’s best roster on paper, Jon Lester understood the challenge ahead. The Cleveland Indians would counter with their own Game 1 ace, a dynamic reliever changing the way we think about bullpens and a future Hall of Fame manager.

That’s how it played out in a 6-0 game that felt a lot closer, Corey Kluber pitching like a Cy Young Award winner, Andrew Miller handling the seventh and eighth innings and Terry Francona improving his record to 9-0 in World Series games.     

Welcome to “Believeland,” where the Fourth Street bars on Tuesday were buzzing more than seven hours before first pitch. That night, LeBron James and the Cavaliers would get their championship rings and watch the banner-raising ceremony at Quicken Loans Arena, just up the street from Progressive Field.

By the first inning – when pitching coach Chris Bosio had to walk out to the mound to talk to Lester – the red video ribbons lining the stadium said: “CLEVELAND AGAINST THE WORLD.” With the bases loaded, Lester had just drilled Brandon Guyer with a pitch, forcing in a second run, a sequence set in motion by walks to Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana and Jose Ramirez’s soft infield single up the third-base line.

It didn’t matter that Lester would eventually settle down and pretty much control this Cleveland lineup. (Except for that rocket Roberto Perez launched off the left-field railing for a solo homer and a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning.) Or that the Indians didn’t run all over the bases, with Francisco Lindor going 1-for-2 in stolen bases. (“Whatever, it’s happened all year," Lester said.)

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]  

This is Cleveland’s blueprint for October, maybe its only chance to win its first World Series since 1948.

“It’s always important (to get a lead), no matter what time of year it is,” Lester said. “It makes a manager’s job a lot easier. It makes your job a lot easier. When you give a guy like Kluber – who’s locked in from pitch one – two runs in the first, it makes his job a lot easier. I know the feeling on the other side. You’re just able to attack differently.

“With the bullpens and all that stuff that they’re setting up nowadays, all you got to do is get through six.”

Lester kept it a 3-0 game, but didn’t finish the sixth inning, a rare October night where he didn’t seem to be automatic. Until Tuesday night, he had gone 3-0 in three World Series starts, allowing only one earned run in 21 innings.

Lester won his two World Series rings with the Boston Red Sox, overlapping with Francona and Miller at different points. This is why the Cubs gave Lester a $155 million contract, to set the tone on the mound and within the clubhouse.

Near the end of a 103-win regular season – and even after winning the franchise’s first pennant in 71 years – Lester has offered colorful versions of: We haven’t done anything yet.

But Lester – the National League Championship Series co-MVP after putting up a 1.38 ERA against the Los Angeles Dodgers and watching the Cubs win both of those starts – also doesn’t do overreactions to losses.

“We got a long ways to go,” Lester said. “If we win tomorrow, we’re right back in it. Just like LA – everybody counted us out after Game 3. They said we were the worst best team in baseball. We’re here. We’re not giving up.

“I know my guys. I know my team. And I know that nobody in this clubhouse is giving anything up.”

Andrew Miller's outstanding postseason continues with escape to beat Cubs

Andrew Miller's outstanding postseason continues with escape to beat Cubs

CLEVELAND — Andrew Miller added another impressive chapter to an already legendary postseason performance on Tuesday night.

The Cleveland Indians reliever pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the seventh inning to preserve a three-run lead and help his team achieve a 6-0 victory over the Cubs in Game 1 of the World Series in front of 38,091 at Progressive Field.

Despite putting four men on base, Miller added two more scoreless innings to his 2016 playoff résumé. Miller also struck out more three batters, giving him 24 in 13 2/3 innings this postseason, the second most by any reliever in playoff history. Critical to the effort was the strikeout of Cubs veteran David Ross with a checked swing on a 3-2 slider to strand the bases loaded in the seventh.

“You’re just trying to see the ball as long as you can and stay up the middle,” Ross said. “The 3-1, that’s the one that kinda messed me up. It didn’t break as much, so now you’re like ‘OK, let’s protect and just battle.’ ... Looking back at it, I wish I just stood there and not swung at all. If I could rewind. If it were that easy. I wish it was. And then he’d throw one right down the middle and America hates me.”

Ross has had his share of success against Miller before, though it all came when the left-hander was still a struggling starting pitcher. The veteran catcher is 3-for-5 with a walk against Miller in his career. But that wasn’t the reason Cubs manager Joe Maddon opted to stay with Ross instead of pinch hit for him with either Jorge Soler or Albert Almora Jr. with two outs in the seventh inning and Miller struggling for the first time all postseason.

With a man on and nobody out, Miller took over for Corey Kluber and walked Kyle Schwarber — only Miller’s third free pass of the postseason. Javy Baez followed with a single to load the bases.

But Miller rebounded quickly and retired Willson Contreras on a fly out to shallow center before he struck out Addison Russell. Based on his experience, Maddon thought Ross was the right man for the spot.

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

“I thought David could hit him or David would accept his walk more than the other guys,” Maddon said. “David works good at-bats in that moment. So I felt good about him, actually. I felt better about him.

“I think with Soler coming off the bench or Albert they had less of a chance than David because I thought there was a two-fold opportunity to either get the hit or draw the walk.”

Ross worked the count to his favor quickly as he took a fastball for a ball, and after swinging and missing a slider, took two more balls to get ahead 3-1. But Miller dropped a slider in for a called strike and then turned to it once again, getting Ross to commit just enough for the third strike. The strikeout improved the Indians’ chances of winning by 26.5 percent, up to 94.7, according to fangraphs.com.

“I was trying to throw a really good one because if he hits it, it goes a long way,” Miller said. “That’s David Ross. I think even he would say, you can pitch to him, but if you throw something in his wheelhouse it’s going to go a long way and do some damage. Fortunate that it worked out. I threw a good one that was in a spot that he went after in the situation.”

Miller struggled again in the eighth inning as he walked Kris Bryant and allowed a Ben Zobrist single with two outs. But Miller — who allowed two hits and two walks for the first time all season in 77 appearances — struck out Kyle Schwarber to strand the pair.

The Indians’ key acquisition before the July 31 trade deadline threw 46 pitches, the most he’s thrown in a game since Sept. 8, 2011, when he was still a starter.

Indians manager Terry Francona wouldn’t commit to whether or not he’d use Miller in Game 2 on Wednesday. Francona cited how Miller bounced back after throwing 40 pitches in a Game 1 victory over Boston in the American League Division Series and would have been ready if needed. But any number of factors could keep Miller from pitching, and Francona is happy to have a 1-0 series lead in his pocket.

“I don’t know,” Francona said. “He was ready to come back and pitch the next night. I just think there’s a lot that can happen.

“But we won tonight. I think when you have a lead, you try to win.”