Broncos vs. Patriots: How New England Put an End to Tebow Mania

Kraig LundbergAnalyst IIIJanuary 15, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14:  Vince Wilfork #75 and Rob Ninkovich #50 of the New England Patriots sack Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The New England Patriots are wise.

One of the only teams this year to give Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow the respect he has earned, they ended up beating him twice this season—the only team to do so.

The Chargers, Raiders and Chiefs had a chance to do that, but they all failed. And let's be real, would a team like the Buffalo Bills be able to beat these Broncos twice? I doubt it.

The Patriots were the only team to do it because they defended Tebow as he deserved to be defended.

A lot of people, including myself, were expecting to see a much more competitive game after Tebow and the Broncos played the game of their lives in a 29-23 overtime victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But when the Patriots got the ball to begin the game, they drove right down the field and scored a touchdown less than two minutes in, and they never looked back.

Maybe the way to stop Tebow Mania is to just score, score and score some more until it's simply impossible for Tebow to pull off the comeback, and that's what the Patriots did. But even more than that, the defense played its best game of the season, completely dominating the Broncos on all levels.

In essence, the Pats put an end to Tebow Mania by never giving Tim Tebow a chance.

Tebow was running for his life from the get-go, thanks in large part to utterly dominant performances from Rob Ninkovich and Vince Wilfork.

Beyond that, the coverage they showed Tebow suggested that the Patriots were actually acknowledging his ability to throw the football. The Steelers' game plan may have worked against Tebow in his first start of the season, but given how much he has improved since then, it was an insult to his intelligence and mental capacity as an NFL quarterback, and he made them pay dearly.

Even if Tebow would have been able to complete passes against New England's secondary, he rarely had enough time to throw the ball downfield. When he did, the coverage was generally outstanding.

It's pretty tough to blame Tim Tebow for the way the game went, considering the only player that was helping him out all game was Willis McGahee, but give credit to the Patriots for thwarting "Tebow Time" by simply playing smart football against a young quarterback and completely overpowering his protection.

The Patriots deserved to win that game, and now they won't have to lose sleep over Tebow Mania anymore—that is, until next year.