Sunday, September 9, 2012
Halftime: Tebow, Wildcat no impact
By Rich Cimini
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Jets jumped to a 27-7 lead over the Bills. Some quick takeaways:
1. Wildcat a dud. Well, it didn't take long to Tim Tebow to make his debut -- the first play. But he lined up as a tight end. On the fourth play, the Jets went to the Wildcat for the first time. All told, Tebow had seven plays on offense and the result was ... not good.
Here's the breakdown: In the Wildcat (direct snap to Tebow, Mark Sanchez split out), the Jets ran two plays for 6 yards. In the option-read offense (snap to Tebow, Sanchez not in), the Jets ran four plays for 12 plays. Tebow ran three times for 11 yards. If anything, Tebow was a detriment. New coordinator Tony Sparano showed some horrible timing, replacing Sanchez late in the half for a red-zone play. Tebow was stuffed for no gain and the crowd booed, understandably. The Jets ended up settling for a field goal. In short, the Bills weren't fooled, not one bit.
2. Sanchez hot. He got off to a brutal start, with a dumb interception on an ill-advised pitch, but Sanchez rallied. He threw touchdowns to Jeremy Kerley (12 yards) and rookie Stephen Hill (33). Except for the one hiccup, Sanchez answered the pressure of Tebow-mania. By the end of the half, the crowd wanted to see Sanchez more than Tebow.
3. Opportunistic defense. Sanchez, Tebow and the Wildcat will get the headlines, but the defense and special teams really carried the day. The defense set up the offense with three turnovers -- interceptions by Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, and a forced fumble by Laron Landry. The three takeaways set up 17 points, making the Bills look terrible. The kicking game, too, was a huge factor, as Kerley scored on a 68-yard punt return. It was the Jets' first punt-return touchdown since 2002, Santana Moss.
4. Doghouse to penthouse. Kerley began training camp in Rex Ryan's doghouse, and ... well, you know the old saying. Kerley, recovered from a hamstring injury, was brilliant, contributing on offense and special teams. He was a better two-way player than ... um, Tebow.