5 Denver Broncos Not Named Tim Tebow Who Most Sparked the Team's Resurgence
With all the talk of Tim Tebow the magnificent, it's hard to focus on all the Denver Broncos that have done their part to give this team the resurgence they needed so desperately after six years without a playoff appearance.
Believe it or not—and this will be easier for some than others—Tebow is hardly the only reason this team is in a position to play past the first day of January 2012.
Fifty-two other players have their names scribbled onto a game-day roster each weekend. Forty-six of them are active for the games. And at the very least, 35 of them take the field to fight for their team.
Here's a look at the players not named Tim Tebow that have contributed greatly to the Broncos' surprising 2011 season.
Although Von Miller has slumped as of late, he did much to help Denver through their win streak.
Miller has totaled 11.5 sacks this season.
This should have been the most impressive stat for Miller this year, but it wasn't.
Miller has added 64 tackles and was the first Bronco in decades to lead this team in tackles and sacks for a month as a rookie.
Miller sits only three sacks away from tying Jevon Kearse's rookie sack record.
It's also noteworthy that Miller missed one game due to a broken thumb, and has played one-handed through three games since with a huge cast on his hand.
While it may be a long-shot for Miller to sack this record, Denver fans can be assured he'll be sacking opposing quarterbacks for many years as a Bronco.
Like every Bronco, Goodman's had a tough couple of weeks.
But before Denver dropped two big games to slip in the division, Goodman was acting as one of the most effective players on the defensive roster.
Goodman ties for the team lead with two interceptions on the season. One of them ended up in the end zone and served as the difference necessary for Denver to beat the Jets on national television.
Of all the games Denver won in this streak, it seemed as if none were more important than the game that everybody in the nation could watch.
The odds were against Denver—as usual—and Goodman's play was the turning point towards another win for the Broncos.
Looking at the stats for Denver on the year would tell you that there's not much going for the Broncos receiving corps.
Watching the games would tell you something differently.
When the ball does go in the air, the guy that pulls it down most often is Demaryius Thomas.
Eric Decker may have the most yards on the season, but take out the four games with Orton at the helm—in which Thomas didn't play—and throw in the ridiculous amount of drops that Decker has piled up over the last six weeks, and Thomas is the reigning champion of catching passes for the Broncos in 2011.
Thomas has succeeded as Tebow's security blanket, and is yet to contribute to a Denver turnover.
When it seemed like Tebow would never complete a pass, Thomas has been there to reel one in.
To give Decker some credit, he was responsible for one of Tebow's only completions against the Kansas City Chiefs earlier this year—a 56-yard touchdown pass that would win the game.
This guy should appear as the first, last and middle slide of this slideshow, with cameos scattered throughout.
Willis McGahee has been Denver's first and foremost all-star in 2011.
In Denver's loss to the Buffalo Bills, McGahee passed the 1,000-yard mark rushing.
He's one of only two players in NFL history to have a 1,000-yard season running the ball for three different teams.
What's more important is that McGahee has operated as the anchor for the Tebow-option in Denver.
Without McGahee, this offense would be anemic and entirely one-dimensional.
McGahee's proved without a doubt that running backs 30 years and older can still be effective in the NFL—given the right type of offense.
A lot of the credit for Denver's 2011 turnaround goes to the coaching staff.
The most important of whom might be Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy.
Week 5 for Denver saw Kyle Orton hitting the bench and Tim Tebow hitting the field.
Two weeks later, it was evident that the Broncos would not be going far with passing-impaired Tebow running the show.
At least not while running Orton's old offense.
McCoy rose to the occasion and developed an offense that coordinated with Tebow's strengths and weaknesses perfectly.
Using elements from the single-wing, the Wildcat and Tebow's own spread offense that he ran so well for the Florida Gators, McCoy put together what is now referred to as the Tebow-option.
Shades of the triple-option made their way into the game plan, and running was the most critical factor.
Six weeks later, the Broncos would find themselves on the end of a winning streak that nobody—not even the most religious Broncos fan—could have predicted.
The team and this offense have come back down to Earth a bit over the past two weeks.
Nonetheless, this squad has shown what it can do when the pieces align the way they were designed and enters the final week of the season with hope for a playoff bid.
Denver will require every element of their recent success in order to take out Orton and company in Week 17.
With some luck and some seriously well done game-planning, we could all be reading about the most important players in Denver's playoff success in just a few weeks.