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Column: Playing Tebow not the right move for Jets

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Column: Playing Tebow not the right move for Jets

At least Jets fans now have a number to help get them through the rest of the season.

Two percent is the figure offered by Rex Ryan on the team's playoff chances, though that seems a bit optimistic. The team is such a mess that even the thought of putting Tim Tebow in to run its abysmal offense isn't enough to excite New York fans.

Not that Tebow is going to get a chance. Not with Ryan lined up squarely behind center with Mark Sanchez, who on Sunday somehow managed to throw one less touchdown pass than Seattle receiver Golden Tate.

If 2 percent is the chance of making the playoffs, the chances of Tebow getting meaningful playing time seems even less after Ryan rose to the defense of Sanchez after a beatdown by a Seahawks team that the Jets had two full weeks to prepare for.

``Well, that's what I believe. I believe it to be true,'' Ryan said Sunday. ``Why do I believe it? Because I believe it. I don't care about anybody else. I believe it. In my heart I believe it. I don't know how many years it's been I've been coaching football, and I put my trust in him.''

Say what you will about Ryan and his 3-6 team - and right now a lot of Jets fans are saying some very nasty things - he's right about the quarterback situation. Throwing Tebow into an offensive scheme not designed for him may perk some interest for a few games, but it's not a path to long-term success.

Tebow was never a good fit for the Jets, no matter how Ryan and the team's brain trust tried to spin it when they took him off of Denver's hands. Unfortunately, it's becoming pretty clear he's not a good fit anywhere around the NFL, where running quarterbacks with ungainly throwing motions are not a prized commodity.

Even guys on the other side seem to agree. Consider this response from Seattle receiver Sidney Rice after Tate threw him a touchdown pass on a trick play in Seattle's 28-7 rout.

``His throwing motion was the worst,'' Rice said. ``I thought we traded for Tebow for a second.''

Why the Jets traded for Tebow is a decision that's always been suspect at best. The way general manager Mike Tannenbaum tells it, he and Ryan were sipping on Ben & Jerry's vanilla milkshakes in an airport when it became clear the Broncos - who had just signed Peyton Manning - had no desire to keep Tebow around any longer.

Maybe they should have been drinking something a bit stronger. Bringing Tebow to the Big Apple to back up Sanchez made no sense, other than to take some of the spotlight away from the team they share the same stadium with - a team that attracts attention by winning Super Bowls, not just promising them.

Ryan didn't promise one this year, even after the Jets signed Tebow and brought in a new offensive coordinator who was supposed to reduce the size of the playbook and make it easier for players to understand. Good thing, because season-ending injuries to cornerback Darrelle Revis and top receiver Santonio Holmes exposed the Jets as a team badly lacking in depth of talent.

Playing Tebow for more than a few plays here and there isn't going to change that. There are too many things wrong with the Jets, from a porous run defense to poor special teams play, that can't be solved by a quarterback change.

That doesn't mean Sanchez doesn't deserve his fair share of blame. He turns the ball over too much in the red zone, makes poor decisions at the line of scrimmage and has thrown almost as many interceptions as touchdowns. His passer rating is the lowest since his rookie season, and 30th out of 33 qualifying quarterbacks.

It's his fourth season in the league, yet he's playing like it's his first. Yes, he may lack quality receivers, but he clearly hasn't mastered the learning curve of a successful quarterback in the NFL.

Ryan sticks with him because he really has no choice. The reason John Elway got rid of Tebow in Denver is that the Heisman Trophy winner from Florida simply doesn't have the passing skills to be a successful NFL quarterback.

And, of course, no one tells Rex Ryan what to do.

``With me, I will never waver,'' Ryan said Monday. ``I am not going to make a decision to save my job. I am in it to win games.''

Ryan reportedly gave the team an impassioned speech after a game in which Sanchez completed only nine passes and threw an interception at the goal line. Undoubtedly, he called on them not to give up on a season that is all but over after an awful start.

Other than a Thanksgiving game against New England, the rest of the schedule is a soft one for the Jets, with games against the likes of Jacksonville, St. Louis and Arizona. Of the seven opponents left, only the Patriots have a winning record.

The temptation might be to do something dramatic to salvage the season. But surrendering to that temptation would be wrong.

Sure, it sounded like a great idea over milkshakes at the airport.

But Ryan seems to understand now what took Denver fans a whole season to figure out - that Tim Tebow is not a starting quarterback in the NFL.

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Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org orhttp://twitter.com/timdahlberg

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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

You may think this was an ugly four-game road trip for the Caps, but with a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday, Washington managed to earn five out of a possible eight points.

Here is why the Caps beat the Sabres and managed to save the road swing.

A missed high-stick (maybe) from Ovechkin

Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the second period as he deflected a high-shot from Christian Djoos down past goalie Chad Johnson. But did the deflection come on a high stick? The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately upheld. According to the NHL, it was determined that "video review supported the Referee's call on the ice that Alex Ovechkin's stick was at or below the height of the crossbar when he tipped the puck into the Buffalo net."

NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May broke the play down during the second intermission and made his case for why the NHL actually got the call wrong.

Was that a high stick? I don't know. As compelling an argument as May made, it still looks inconclusive which means the review made the right call. What surprises me is that the referee did not disallow the goal on the initial call.

Whether the review is truly inconclusive or flat out wrong, Washington was fortunate to walk away from this sequence with the goal.

MORE CAPITALS: BIZARRE SEQUENCE LEADS TO CAPS SCORING AND GETTING PENALIZED AT THE SAME TIME

A centimeter of ice

Hockey is a game of inches and it took less than an inch to put Washington up 2-0. When an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot hit off the boards and bounced back to the front of the net, it sparked a scrum next to goalie Chad Johnson. Eventually, John Carlson was able to get a swipe on the puck sending it trickling to the goal line, but Kyle Okposo was there waiting and appeared to kick it out to safety just before it crossed. A review triggered by the Situation Room, however, revealed that the puck had just barely managed to cross the goal line before Okposo got to it.

Here's the view the NHL released after the review:

Philipp Grubauer's third period

After dominating the first 40 minutes of the game and taking a 2-0 lead, Buffalo predictably made a late push in the third period with two goals to pull within one. Washington outshot the Sabres in the first and second periods, but Buffalo reversed that trend in a big way in the third as they outshot the Caps 17-6. Grubauer turned aside 15 of those shots and was impressive after barely being tested in the first two periods.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FROM CAPS-SABRE

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3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

Coming off an ugly 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a Buffalo Sabres team missing star Jack Eichel was just what the doctor ordered for the Caps to get back on track. Washington dominated the first two periods and then survived a late surge from Buffalo for the 3-2 win.

After battling to a scoreless first, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson spotted Washington a 2-0 lead in the second. They then held on in the third period as Buffalo began to tilt the ice in their favor, with Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring the empty-netter to put this game out of reach. Evander Kane would pull Buffalo within one, but with only three seconds left it was too little, too late.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin opened up the scoring in the second period as he deflected down an innocent shot from Christian Djoos past Chad Johnson.

Ovechkin also set a physical tone as he battled with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen all game long. After taking a high elbow from Ristolainen early in the game Ovechkin skated up to Ristolainen prior to the faceoff on his next shift and let him know that it was on. 

2. John Carlson: Carlson had a hand in both of Washington's first two goals. He recorded a secondary assist on Ovechkin's goal as he made a blue line pass to Djoos which Djoos fired on net and Ovechkin deflected. Carlson then managed to hit the puck past the goal line in a scrum next to Johnson. It looked initially like Kyle Okposo had managed to kick out the puck just before it crossed, but Carlson was awarded the goal as a review showed the puck had completely crossed the line.

3. Philipp Grubauer: A Sabres team that ranks last in the NHL in scoring and that was also without its leading scorer did not test Grubauer much in the first two periods. Facing a 2-0 deficit, however, Buffalo made a third period push to try to tie the game, but Grubauer was up to the task as he turned aside 15 of the 17 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes. He finished with 32 total saves on the night.