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Broncos 17, Jets 13

Tebow rides to Broncos’ rescue

Jets done in by QB’s 20-yard run

Tim Tebow crosses the goal line on a 20-yard run with less than a minute left, completing the Broncos’ 95-yard winning drive. Tim Tebow crosses the goal line on a 20-yard run with less than a minute left, completing the Broncos’ 95-yard winning drive. (Julie Jacobson/Associated Press)
By Arnie Stapleton
Associated Press / November 18, 2011

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DENVER - Tim Tebow’s 20-yard touchdown run with 58 seconds left capped a 95-yard drive and sent the Denver Broncos to a 17-13 victory over the stunned New York Jets last night.

Tebow saw the blitz and outflanked safety Eric Smith around the left edge, then cut back and bulled his way into the end zone.

“We have a resilient team,’’ Tebow said.

And a resilient quarterback.

The Broncos (5-5) are 4-1 since Tebow replaced Kyle Orton.

The Jets (5-5) lost their second heartbreaker in four days. Mark Sanchez’s desperation pass toward the end zone was batted down as time expired.

Nick Folk’s 45-yard field goal broke a 10-10 tie with 9:14 remaining, and the Broncos found themselves facing a daunting task when they got the ball back with 5:54 left at their 5.

New York safety Jim Leonhard could have throttled Denver’s 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.

Tebow ran just twice for 11 yards until the final drive, when he carried seven times for 58 yards in a performance reminiscent of his miracle in Miami, when he was ineffective for 55 minutes, then led the Broncos to two TDs in the final five minutes of a game Denver won in overtime.

After completing just two passes in a win at Kansas City four days earlier, Tebow completed 9 of 20 passes for 104 yards last night.

“I said before, I trust him. I trust him with everything,’’ teammate Von Miller said about Tebow.

“No matter how many interceptions he throws, no matter how many touchdowns he throws. I’m going to ride him to the end. I hope he shut up a bunch of his critics today.’’

The debate across the NFL is: can the Broncos’ option offense keep working?

“I want to run whatever’s going to work,’’ Tebow said.

Before Denver’s unorthodox option offense prevailed again, it appeared the Jets were going to win this one thanks to an oddball touchdown - left guard Matt Slauson’s fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Slauson recovered rookie running back Bilal Powell’s fumble at the 1 and dived across the goal line early in the third quarter to give New York a 10-3 lead. No Jets offensive lineman had scored on a fumble recovery since guard Randy Rasmussen in 1972.

Denver tied it at 10 when Andre’ Goodman stepped in front of Plaxico Burress and picked off Sanchez’s ill-advised pass and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown.

It was the third pick-six Sanchez had thrown this year, and the Jets followed that with their fourth lost fumble on special teams when Joe McKnight coughed it up on the kickoff return at his 41. Cassius Vaughn recovered for Denver, but the Broncos couldn’t capitalize this time, going three and out.

McKnight and Powell shared snaps after New York’s backfield took another hit when starting running back Shonn Greene went down in the first half with a rib injury.

They were already without LaDainian Tomlinson (knee), so Powell was activated for the first time all season.

Greene was hurt with 3:24 left in the first quarter after catching a 4-yard screen pass.

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