Sunday’s win was Denver’s fourth straight, and it put the team above .500 at 6-5. Yes, Bronco fans, Denver has more wins than losses. Let me repeat that. Denver is above .500. Hell, Denver has a damn good chance of winning eight games this year – a feat I didn’t think the boys in orange had a prayer of doing after watching them lose throughout the first quarter of the season.
Of course, at the heart of Denver’s newfound success is quarterback Tim Tebow, who has led the Broncos to a 5-1 record since taking over as starter. Tebow is the most polarizing player right now in the National Football League. You either love him or hate him. He’s a quarterback who, according to “expert” analysts, has no chance of succeeding in the NFL because of his inability to throw the ball from the pocket. He’s inaccurate. He doesn’t fit the mold of an NFL quarterback.
Yet, despite all his so-called flaws, he wins. The guy is a winner. It’s a scenario that football fans are having trouble comprehending. Hell, I’m not sure even head coach John Fox or executive vice-president of football operations John Elway can comprehend the quarterback they have on their hands. Whatever Tebow is, he is sure drawing a lot of attention, and he hasn’t failed at giving us all an exciting game, no matter what.
I will agree that Tebow has some sort of two-minute drill chemical in his body that activates when points are needed. Several times now, Tebow has played 55 minutes of just-OK football, and in the final minutes of the game, he’ll go and rack up a touchdown or two to put the Broncos in position to win. These aren’t pretty wins, but they are wins nonetheless. Three weeks ago when the Broncos beat the Jets at Mile High, Tebow’s glorious run to ice the game was one of the best Tebow endings you could have. He was unimpressive for most of the game, but in the end he ran it in to pull out the victory. Ex-Bronco quarterback Kyle Orton wouldn’t have pulled that off. He probably would have thrown an interception in the end zone and taken another loss.
While Tebow has his flaws as a quarterback, he’s definitely improving his game-time skills in each and every one of his starts. At least that was the takeaway from Sunday’s win in San Diego. Yes, Tebow had the most carries (22) by a quarterback in a game since 1950, but it was obvious that his passing was much improved, too. In the first quarter he threw a couple of passes that simply should have been caught by the receiver. Down by 10 just before the half, Tebow looked like an NFL quarterback, pump-fake and all, and threw a strike to Eric Decker in the end zone for a touchdown. The receiver was open, and it was a pretty pass.
Then in the fourth quarter, down by three, Tebow kept a drive alive by throwing a 39-yard completion to Decker. It was thrown low and in a tough place to catch, but it worked. Tebow threw a crucial pass when the team needed it most. It was the play of the game, if you ask me. Perhaps Tebow’s prettiest pass came next when he threw a 23-yarder to Dante Rosario. Tebow threw it up high for Rosario to snag before the safety was able to get over and help. It was a good read and a good throw by Tebow. When all was said and done on Sunday, Tebow’s passing game improved greatly. He went 9 for 18 with 143 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. That’s right, no interceptions. As unimpressive as those passing numbers may seem, Tebow’s quarterback rating was better than the Chargers’ Phillip Rivers.
Despite the attention on Tebow, we all know that Denver’s defense, led by rookie linebacker Von Miller, is the true hero in Denver’s recent success. Miller and sack-man Elvis Dumervil have been getting after opposing quarterbacks. If the defense can hold opponents to 13 points every week, Tebow has a good chance of winning those games. Keep it close, and Tebow will do what’s needed to win.
Frankly, what we are finding is that Denver has a pretty damn good well-rounded team led by a fast defensive pass rush and by an impressive ground game on offense. Throw in a Tebow option here and there. Maybe an occasional Tebow strike to the end zone. All together, it’s a winning combination – especially in a league where defenses are shaped solely to stop passing attacks. It’s almost as if defenses forgot how to stop the run. Well, with Tebow behind center, Denver will run, and so far, it’s worked damn well. It’s back to old-school running football in Denver, backed up with defense. Screw pretty boy quarterbacks like Tom Brady and their nifty passing attacks. I’ll take a running game and grit any day.