There had never been an overtime game in NFL history where a team got the ball after the other team scored- before yesterday. But when Denver and Pittsburgh ended regulation at 23 apiece, it looked like a certainty.
Tim Tebow made sure there still hasn’t.
He fired a bullet to Demaryius Thomas, who caught it and outraced a pair of Steelers for an 80 yard touchdown- and the win.
Tebow then flashed a smile that has been missing for the past month, struck what is now known across the globe as the Tebowing pose, and took a victory lap.
He had every right to be happy.
Not only did he send arguably the most prestigious NFL franchise home with an early playoff exit, but he looked like the QB that Josh McDaniels envisioned when he drafted him. In fact, the entire offense looked just like what McDaniels envisioned.
No doubt, it will have to change somewhat for next season. But for now, Denver can ride it for the rest of the season because it produced 367 total yards out of Tebow and 29 points against what was supposed to be the best defense in the NFL.
I missed the first quarter because traffic coming home from the Giants game was bad. It’s OK. I turned on CBS just in time to watch Tebow throw a perfectly on target ball to a receiver that Steeler coach Mike Tomlin lamented after the game, wasn’t open. Tebow just fit that ball in beautifully.
He threw a bunch more like it, and people everywhere were going, “What’s this?” Not Gator fans. WE watched Tebow thread the needle with surgeon like precision to pull off an electrifying comeback against Alabama in the 2008 SEC Championship Game. WE watched Tebow pick apart Oklahoma in the BCS Championship with similarly eerily accuracy a month later. WE watched Tebow pull of comeback after comeback a year later in 2009.
So WE know he’s capable of being an NFL QB. Especially with an offseason working with John Elway to fine tune his skills. Yes, he does need work. Here are some things he needs to improve on:
-Throwing on the run to the right side
Tebow is a lefty, and it’s naturally harder for him to throw while flushed to his weaker side. But he’s going to have to do this if he wants to continue his journey. New England figured it out a few weeks ago, and no doubt they’ll try to force him to his right again this week. Pretty soon, all opponents will send overload blitzes off Tebow’s left side so there’s nowhere to go but right. He needs to be successful enough to force teams to play him honest.
There were some Aaron Rodgers type throws yesterday. Then, there were also some horrible throws that looked like they were thrown by a 4 year old. Those need to improve. He needs to be more consistent. And even though he was much better than he has been, it’s still shaky enough to need improvement. Someday, one of those bad throws could turn into gift TD’s- like they did in Buffalo.
Again, this was better yesterday. But just because it was better one week doesn’t mean the problem has been completely fixed. He still needs to know when to pull it down and get out of the pocket and when to step up, sacrifice himself and let it go.
All in all, he’s been much better in the fourth quarter than the rest of the game. That also needs to change. But it’s not a strategical or mechanical problem. That’s a mental problem, and if Tebow continues to play the way he did yesterday… and his defense plays well behind him… who says he can’t go all the way? The Pats’ defense isn’t great, and while Baltimore’s supposedly better defensively, we thought the Steelers were too. Plus, the Ravens’ offense probably won’t score a whole lot, regardless of what Terrell Suggs thinks.
And in the Super Bowl?
My bet is New Orleans, and they’re beatable with solid defense and a chain moving type of offense. Which Denver has.
So yes, Denver can win the Super Bowl if the Broncos continue to play like this.