Steelers vs. Broncos: Ryan Clark's Absence Won't Hurt Steelers vs. Tim Tebow

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJanuary 5, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 19:  Safety Ryan Clark #25 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on December 19, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images)
Karl Walter/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has said safety Ryan Clark won't play against the Broncos in Denver because of a sickle-cell trait that is aggravated in high elevations.

But Clark's absence, despite his play and leadership in the secondary, won't change the outcome on Sunday: the Steelers will win and Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow will struggle.

Tebow and the Broncos won six-straight games earlier this season largely based on a wave of momentum that became hard to stop. Tebow would struggle for most of the game then when the fourth quarter came along, he would revive.

But that momentum has been lost after losing three-straight games, including a 7-3 stinker against the Kansas City Chiefs, and Tebow's inaccuracy has remained.

Against the Chiefs in Week 17, Tebow went 6-of-22 for 60 yards and an interception. While this was his worst game of the season, it also marked a trend: Tebow has completed 46.5 percent of his passes this season.

Against a Steelers defense like this, which has allowed a league-best 171.9 passing yards per game and 14.2 points per game, this is a recipe for disaster.

Yes, Tebow's running ability always seems to be a problem for opposing defenses, but the Steelers have a good enough defense to hone in on Tebow and smack him around if he tries to scramble.

You also have to add in the fact that backup Ryan Mundy isn't bad. Tomlin said he's "starter capable," via The Vancouver Sun, and he's played well when given the chance.

Tebow will have a nightmare of a game against the Steelers, with or without Clark.


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