Jets win on ill-conceived play


If you're a New York Jets fan, it's a case of, "All's well that ends well." But take a closer look at the Mile High Miracle --Renaldo Hill's 46-yard pass-interference penalty on Santonio Holmes -- and you will see it wasn't a well-designed play by the Jets.

On a fourth-and-6 from the Denver Broncos' 48, the Jets sent four receivers on vertical routes -- Holmes on the backside, with Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller in "trips" to the right. After studying the replay, a revelation: There was no safety valve because LaDainian Tomlinson stayed in to block.

As it turned out, Tomlinson probably didn't have to stay in to block because the Broncos rushed only four, with a fifth coming on a delayed blitz. That left six blocking five. With four receivers downfield, and no check-down options, Mark Sanchez had no choice but to heave it. There was no escape route. If he had tried to run, he would've been dropped immediately. It was nice of Rex Ryan to praise Sanchez for having the presence of mind to throw it deep, but, really, what else was there to do?

The officials made the right call -- it was pass interference -- an utterly dumb play by Hill. If the pass had fallen incomplete, fans would be complaining about Brian Schottenheimer's play call in that situation. The Jets should've had a receiver in the short to intermediate range -- a "sticks" option -- but they took the all-or-nothing approach. Afterward, Sanchez said it best: "We stole a win."

Other thoughts and observations after breaking down the tape:

HAVING A BLAST: On Tomlinson's game-winning TD run, moments after the pass interference, he received nice blocks from FB Tony Richardson and LG Matt Slauson. It was the Jets' "Blast" running play, their bread-and-butter in short yardage. Slauson blew open a huge hole, a nice way to end a play that almost started with disaster. He got his feet tangled with Sanchez, who stumbled as he pulled away from center. Some Denver defenders appeared to let Tomlinson score on purpose, but coach Josh McDaniels said that wasn't the case. Just soft defense, I suppose.

STRETCH MARKS: On Tomlinson's 20-yard TD, the key blocks were thrown by rookie FB John Conner and LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson. This was a vintage "stretch" play to the left. Conner, in an off-set I, took out Mr. Interference, Hill. (Not a wonderful couple of plays there for Hill.) Ferguson got to the second level and did a nice job of walling off LB Mario Haggan. Ferguson, in case you haven't noticed, has been outstanding over the last four games.

NOT USING YOUR HEAD: That was a terrible personal-foul call on S Jim Leonhard, who was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit on WR Brandon Lloyd. He led with his right shoulder, not his head. His helmet may have grazed Lloyd's helmet in an incidental manner, but it's clear that Leonhard's shoulder delivered the brunt of the hit. As everybody knows, the league is cracking down on shots to the head. Leonhard said he would appeal a fine.

PACKING A WALLOP: CB Darrelle Revis didn't look like a guy with a cranky hamstring when he blew up WR Eddie Royal in the third quarter, exploding into Royal to break up a short pass. Fans have been getting on Revis for his performance -- he allowed four completions for 66 yards, including a TD -- but he really didn't play that badly. With an extra week to rest during the bye, he should, in theory, be 100% for the Green Bay Packers.

OOPS: By the way, the touchdown he allowed -- 17 yards to Demaryius Thomas -- should've been challenged by the Jets. He bobbled and didn't get both feet down.

TWIN PICKS: Sanchez' two interceptions had a common denominator: He didn't see the underneath coverage.

Pick No. 1 -- Sanchez followed Cotchery on an in-cut, seeing CB Champ Bailey on Cotchery the whole way. Sanchez thought it was man-to-man coverage, but it was a combination coverage. LB Jason Hunter was sitting in a "hook" zone and made the interception.

Pick No. 2 -- Sanchez was looking for Keller, who was covered by CB Nate Jones. It seemed to be man-to-man, as Jones was running with Keller, but it actually was a bracket coverage. Jones fell off, passing him off to CB Syd'Quan Thompson, who was in a zone. Interception. Sanchez seems to have a blind spot when it comes to those kind of passes.

CAUGHT SLEEPING: On the Broncos' surprise onsides kick, the Jets got caught cheating, big time. At first glance, it looks like Kenwin Cummings was the guy who bailed out too soon, but it was actually Brodney Pool. He had retreated 12 yards by the time the ball was kicked.

WHERE'S VERNON?: After showing some early promise, DE/OLB Vernon Gholston has all but disappeared -- again. He barely got on the field in Denver. Recently-signed Trevor Pryce has taken over Gholston's spot in the D-line rotation and, now that Calvin Pace is healthy, Gholston really isn't needed at outside linebacker.

NO DEALS: As expected, the Jets didn't make any trades before Tuesday's trading deadline.