It looks like John Fox and the Denver Broncos have either seen enough of Kyle Orton or can't stand the constant booing whenever he is out there.
Kyle Orton has done nothing to keep his spot as the starting quarterback against the San Diego Chargers, having badly missed receivers and looking completely rattled in the pocket in the first half of Sunday's game. Even with time to pass Orton has thrown behind too many receivers and is lucky that more passes have not been intercepted.
Tim Tebow has taken the field in the third quarter for his first series as the Denver Broncos QB this season. The Broncos are likely looking for a spark to ignite the team against the Chargers.
In an effort to evaluate his performance each series will be graded independently and then combined to assess his performance as a whole. Keep checking back as each series concludes for an update.
8:54 to go in 3rd Quarter - San Diego 23 Denver 10
Tim Tebow was not asked to do much in the first series with two hand-offs and one pass. Tebow again looked shaky taking the snap from JD Walton but that could be a lack of practice with the first team center and should be fixed on the sideline.
Tebow's first attempt at a pass was not a total failure and eventually Tebow checked down for a no gain pass in the flats.
In retrospect, Tebow probably should have tucked the ball and run on third down as that is the difference between he and Kyle Orton and likely the spark that Denver is looking for.
GRADE: C+ Hard to fault Tebow for some vanilla play calling. However, with no spark on third down his play was just average.
3:54 to go in 3rd Qtr. San Diego 23 Denver 10
Tebow is given the chance to stretch the field and tries to give Brandon Lloyd the opportunity to make a play. Had that ball been thrown to anyone but Lloyd it might have been more dicey but giving Lloyd a chance is never bad.
In an effort to provide what Denver has been looking for, Tebow electrifies the crowd in the pocket and is an eyelash away from connecting with Eric Decker on third down. Tebow needs to have the touch to complete that pass but it is clear that the receivers are responding to his presence and trying to get open.
GRADE: B- Tebow almost converts and keeps plays alive that Orton would not have but the passes need to be completed.
13:35 to go in 4th Qtr San Diego 26 Denver 10
First pass to Rosario should have been completed with a better pass but Tebow looked more confident coming out from under center and knowing where to deliver the ball. Good read but a poor throw.
Second play of the drive is a run by McGahee and can't help but wonder if threat of Tebow scrambling helps open up room?
Third play should have been a more decisive choice to run. The fake throw caused him to lose steam and maybe first down yardage.
Another throw at the feet to conclude the drive after breaking the pocket and finding an open receiver.
GRADE: D Too many balls at the shoelaces and not enough scrambling which is what really is going to cause the defense to open up.
8:54 to go in 4th Qtr. San Diego 26 Denver 10
McGahee running hard and Orton may be wondering why that didn't happen while he was in. Hard not to say that Tebow might be affecting game plan by San Diego on defense.
Second play is what Tebow brings that opens up the defense and Denver is rewarded with a first down. (Trouble with the snap again)
The poor exchange with Walton finally costs Denver a play and allows San Diego defense to penetrate.
Tebow responds with a touchdown on a designed run that demonstrates all the worries that the defense has with trying to defend that kind of attack.
The Broncos add on a 2 pt. conversion and suddenly its a one possession game and the crowd is rocking.
GRADE: B+ Can't argue with the results and everyone knows that Tebow's legs are ahead of his arm right now.
4:38 to go in 4th Qtr. San Diego 26 Denver 18
Coming off of a big turnover produced by the defense the Broncos stick with what is working as Tebow gains tough yardage on a run.
McGahee answers with a tough first down of his own in this rejuvenated Denver running game.
Great poise by Tebow as the rusher comes in on a screen pass. The ball is delivered perfectly and Moreno does most of the work on the rest of the play. Still, its the first TD pass for Tebow in 2011 and the playbook seems to be opening up each series.
The pass on the 2 pt. conversion is a tough one for many QB"s to make but a pure passer probably completes it.
GRADE: B+ Again the results speak for themselves and Tebow helps the Broncos capitalize on a big turnover. The play calling and its success is a direct result of Tebow being in the game but the actual throw was one that most NFL QB's should make. The 2 pt. conversion pass was less impressive but a tough play call.
0:24 to go in 4th Qtr. San Diego 29 Denver 24
Tebow made two good passes in the final seconds of the game but San Diego was able to win the jump ball situation in the end zone to finish off the game.
The two passes by Tebow in the final drive were safe and not in jeopardy of being intercepted and that is half the battle in no huddle situations. Tebow showed maturity in finding two open receivers and giving the Broncos a chance to try and win the game.
GRADE: B- The two passes were not bad but quicker decision making might have helped the Broncos have two shots at the end zone. The flip side of that is that different decision might have given Denver no shot.
It is impossible to deny that Tim Tebow had a huge impact on the end of the Broncos game.
To grade Tebow solely on his play as a quarterback in the passing game he deserves a C+ for making passes that most QB's should make and missing low on some others.
If Tebow is being graded on his ability to rush the ball that is more like a B+ due to the production that Tebow himself was able to produce.
In terms of intangible benefits the grade is A+. The electricity of the crowd and the reaction of his fellow players was undeniable. The defense got a little stronger and gave the offense an opportunity get back on the field. The running game suddenly looked unstoppable whether it was Tebow or McGahee carrying the ball.
Losing, even closely, is not acceptable but compared to last weeks loss the fans of Denver are probably a lot more optimistic than they were leaving Green Bay.