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Tim Tebow Played Well, but Pittsburgh Steelers' Mistakes Played Bigger Role

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 08:  Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos looks to pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Brendan O'HareContributor IJanuary 8, 2012

I don't know if everyone is aware, but local Christian Tim Tebow just won a playoff football game in which he played like a quarterback who wasn't giving off the appearance of being exorcised when he threw the football.

OK, it still wasn't pretty, but for once, the eternal awkwardness of the Tim Tebow pass amounted to something positive. Tebow threw for 316 yards ("some coincidence, huh?"-every Internet person ever) and showed that despite his inexplicable refusal to complete screen passes, he is surprisingly skilled at throwing wobbly deep bombs.

Before we give too much credit to Tebow, which is bound to happen due to the fact that the only opinion you can have about him is an extreme one, one has to realize how depleted the Steelers were. Ryan Clark wasn't allowed to play because otherwise, his organs would explode, and he would be the first person in recorded history to spontaneously combust. Maurkice Pouncey was out, and the gloveless wonder, Doug Legursky, was forced to high-snap his way at center.

Rashard Mendenhall was unable to play, but that didn't really matter because a) He kind of sucks and b) his replacement, Isaac Redman, had a 121-yard game. Brett Keisel and Casey Hampton both got hurt at different points during the game.

Finally, Ben Roethlisberger was playing with an ankle that probably looks like a diseased volleyball at this point and caused him to move with octogenarian alacrity.

So that helped, and it's probably a whole different game if the Steelers have even half of those players healthy. They also made some horrible mistakes during the game, too. Various dropped passes, missed tackles, blown coverages and overall shoddy play all marred the first half for the Steelers and continuously put the Broncos into a better position than they probably deserved.

If Bruce Arians didn't decide many years ago that the bubble screen is the play to end all plays, maybe a few more first downs are converted. But who's to say, other than Tebow's savior?

Speaking of Tebow, the one bad thing that comes out of the Broncos win will be the endless talk of the Denver quarterback. Another week of "polarizing" opinions from the media, laced with stupid religious undertones and a sense of undeserved audacity in whatever they say.

"Look at me, I have the most extreme opinion about Tim Tebow!", "No, I do!"

It never ends, and is something I am certainly not looking forward to.

Tim Tebow played really well, surprisingly well, but the various things lacking from Pittsburgh is really what won the game for Denver. God forbid I be labeled as a "hater," but it's true. Tebow played well enough to keep Denver in the game, that's for sure. But Pittsburgh's various mistakes and injuries are what allowed Denver to win this game.

That's not even necessarily an insult toward Tebow. If Tebow doesn't play the way he does, Pittsburgh most likely wins this game. He played well enough to beat a 60-percent Pittsburgh team, if that. In terms of his intelligent design as a quarterback, this was a huge step. But don't think for a minute that Tebow, much less Denver, won this game on their own.

And yes, I'm still bitter.

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