Tebow and the Denver Broncos lost 7-3 in their much-anticipated matchup with Kyle Orton’s Kansas City Chiefs. Orton’s revenge against his former team was hardly spectacular (15 out of 29 passes for 180 yards), but Tebow’s performance was dreadful—he completed just 6-of-22 passing attempts for a paltry 60 yards, fumbled in the red zone and threw an interception in the Broncos’ final drive.
Tebow has had significant help all season and that assistance was on full display in the final loss of the Bronco's regular season. The Broncos’ stout defense gave Tebow a shot at a comeback final drive, just as they had done in so many of Tebow’s earlier season victories. Likewise, Matt Prater’s long-distance field goals have been notorious parts of Bronco comebacks, and he kicked another one against the Chiefs.
Running back Willis McGahee rushed for 145 yards, continuing as a key protagonist in the story of the Broncos' prolific running game this year.
But throughout the season opponents have also done their part to keep the Tebow storyline arching into the playoffs.
Sometimes that help involved opposing team meltdowns (sorry, Chicago, I know it was a tough season), while other teams came up big against Bronco rivals. The Detroit Lions roared back to overtake the Oakland Raiders in Week 15, making Stephen Tulloch’s early season sack-Tebow pose look in hindsight like a Bronco prayer.
Today, Tebow got help from another quarterback who shares Tebow’s religious views on chastity.
Devout Catholic Philip Rivers completed 19-of-26 throws for 310 total passing yards to lead the San Diego Chargers to a 38-26 win over the Oakland Raiders, ending the latter's playoff hopes and fulfilling the Broncos' postseason aspirations.
Tebow is a virgin to NFL playoffs, and the Broncos organization hasn’t made it this far since 2006, when they lost in the first round to the Pittsburgh Steelers (whom, ominously, they will play again this year in a first-round rematch).
For the Broncos to turn the tide of that history and beat the Steelers, Tebow will have to steady his inconsistent throwing arm.
Right now, that looks about as likely as Tebow and Orton going out for a beer.