2012 NFL Playoffs logo2012 NFL Playoffs

Steelers vs. Broncos: Tim Tebow's Arm Forces Patriots to Re-Think Game Plan

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 08:  Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos delivers a pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Eric BallFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2012

Still think Tim Tebow can’t throw the ball?

The Denver Broncos quarterback shredded the Steelers' No. 1 ranked defense for 316 yards, including five passes for 30 yards or more in Sunday’s 29-23 OT win on Sunday. Pittsburgh had previously given up six plays of that nature in 16 regular season games.

This has never happened before in Tebow’s professional career, and it’s time for Patriots coach Bill Belichick to shred up his game plan and start from scratch. The Pats will be hosting the Broncos Saturday night.

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24:  Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots watches his team completes drills before a game with the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The Steelers assumed Tebow couldn’t beat them with his arm and they are now sitting at home. This is got to be concern for a New England team that has the 31st-ranked pass defense.

Tebow’s play-action fakes threw off the Steelers typically disciplined defense. He stood tall in the pocket and didn’t let the pressure cloud his judgment. He didn’t make a single mistake, even when the vaunted Steelers linebackers were breathing down his neck on the blitz.  

In short, he did everything a successful quarterback needs to do. The momentum heading into this game is off the charts for the young Broncos offense.

There are no beauty points in this league, and sure Tebow still throws a fluttering duck or two, but he has now proved to critics that he can complete long passes against top-notch competition when the stakes couldn’t be higher.

If the Patriots think they can stack eight or nine in the box against the Broncos, they are in for a rude awakening. New England, with the aid of former Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels, must figure out a way for their players to stay disciplined in their gap assignments. With the option to hand the ball off to a back, tuck it and run himself or throw the ball, there are a ton of aspects to the Denver offense that have to be accounted for.

The schemes to stop the No. 1-ranked running game in the league have to be altered.

As long as the Pats jam the Broncos receiving corps (who will be missing Eric Decker), and consistently make Tebow scramble, they should be fine. That’s what happens when Tom Brady is your QB.

But if New England doesn’t take the Denver passing offense seriously, the Mile High Messiah will take on a whole new meaning.

This is going to be one heck of a game. Is it Saturday yet? 

 

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