Tebow shocks Jets with last minute heroics

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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.

Northwestern holds off Ohio State for fifth Big Ten win, first win in Columbus in 40 years

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USA TODAY

Northwestern holds off Ohio State for fifth Big Ten win, first win in Columbus in 40 years

It's not something that's been said often over the decades, but Northwestern is one of the best teams in the Big Ten.

That's the story the standings tell, and with another week of the 2016-17 season in the books, the Wildcats sit at 5-2 in conference play, good for the second-best mark in the league.

That fifth conference win came Sunday afternoon with a 74-72 defeat of Ohio State. It was the first time Northwestern won in Columbus since 1977.

This is the first 5-2 start to Big Ten play for the Cats since 1968. So is this the first time ever the Cats get an invite to the NCAA tournament?

Of course that remains to be seen, but Chris Collins' squad sure seems to be setting itself up for inclusion in the field of 68. Sunday's win was just the latest to come away from Evanston, and in seven conference games, four of the team's five wins have come in road games, including three straight at Nebraska, Rutgers and Ohio State.

Northwestern had to find a way to win Sunday. A couple surges in the first half took the Cats from modest deficits to a lead that grew as big as eight. The halftime advantage was five, but that slipped away quickly as Northwestern shot poorly after halftime. Ice cold is a better descriptor, the Cats struggling to get their field-goal percentage above 30 percent over the final 20 minutes. It got there eventually, the team finishing shooting 32.3 percent in the second half, but it was the work from the free-throw line that made the win possible. Over the final 20 minutes, Northwestern was 14-for-16 from the charity stripe, including going 11-for-12 over the final minute and a half.

The key stretch came when a Scottie Lindsey 3-ball broke a 56-all tie with four and a half minutes to play. Ohio State countered with a bucket, but freshman point guard Isiah Brown turned in back-to-back scores of his own, the second a breakaway layup off a steal. That made it a five-point lead, and though the gap shrunk over the game's final three minutes, Northwestern's free-throw shooting allowed the Cats to hold that lead the rest of the way.

Meanwhile, the Buckeyes shot themselves in the foot at the free-throw line. They were 12-for-23 on the game, and all but one of the attempts came in the second half, making for 10 missed free throws over the game's final 20 minutes. Northwestern committed a lot of fouls, but Ohio State couldn't capitalize, something that has to be quite painful for the Buckeyes, considering they had edges in other statistical categories. They shot 45.6 percent from the field compared to the Cats shooting 37.5 percent. Ohio State also had 16 second-chance points and 28 points in the paint. But Northwestern had 17 points off 13 Ohio State turnovers.

Lindsey finished with a game-high 21 points and has scored in double figures in every game this season. Bryant McIntosh had 17 points, and Vic Law had 10. Jae'Sean Tate scored 14 points for Ohio State, with JaQuan Lyle adding 13, Trevor Thompson scoring 11 and Cam Williams putting in 10.

The win was Northwestern's fourth straight and boosted its overall record to 16-4 to go along with the 5-2 mark in the conference. The Cats next play Nebraska on Thursday.

The loss snapped a modest two-game win streak for Ohio State and dropped the Buckeyes' record to 12-8 overall and 2-5 in the Big Ten. They next play Minnesota on Wednesday.

Marcus Kruger 'pretty close' to returning for Blackhawks

Marcus Kruger 'pretty close' to returning for Blackhawks

Marcus Kruger has been sidelined a little longer than the originally expected three weeks with his right hand injury. Not that any missed time is enjoyable.

"I wanted to get back there probably a few weeks ago but unfortunately I couldn't," said Kruger, who suffered his injury on Dec. 30 against the Carolina Hurricanes. "I tried to listen to the doctors and do everything I can instead to be ready when I get cleared. That's my mindset."

Kruger is close, but not quite there, as the Blackhawks prepared for Sunday night's game against the Vancouver Canucks. Kruger skated with his teammates for the first time since being injured but wasn't among the line rushes. The center took faceoffs on his own at the end of practice. Kruger pronounced himself, "pretty close," to returning. Coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks will see how Kruger is over the next few days. The Blackhawks play again Tuesday and Thursday before heading into the All-Star break this weekend.

The Blackhawks have missed Kruger's versatility and especially his play on the penalty kill. The Blackhawks' kill has been fine through Kruger's absence but he nevertheless is a big part of it when he's healthy.

"We have a lot of options and when he's out everyone gets a more important role, whether starting or faceoffs. And we have a rotation of five guys who are in there most of the time. But he definitely absorbs the most responsibility when he's playing in that area," Quenneville said of Kruger. "So it's nice you get to try some other guys and you get deeper as you go along."

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

One of the players who's emerged in Kruger's absence is Tanner Kero, who filled his third-line center void. Kero and linemates Vinnie Hinostroza and Marian Hossa clicked on the dads trip, coming up with big plays and points in the Blackhawks' victories over Colorado and Boston. As of now, Kero appears to have the hold on third-line center.

"I don't see too many things that would change his positioning because he really helped himself," Quenneville said.

Kruger said he's fine if that means returning to fourth-line center duties. Regardless, he'll help bolster the Blackhawks' forward lines. The last step is likely contact, which Kruger got a little of – outside of faceoffs – in Sunday's skate. Kruger's had to wait a little longer than expected on his injury but he's getting there.