But the second half brought Tim Tebow time, and the young quarterback nearly brought the Broncos back.
In the first half, Denver's defense couldn't do anything in every phase of the game.
No pressure on Philip Rivers. No answer for the Chargers' run game. No stopping San Diego's passing.
The receiver was even open on Cassius Vaughn's interception return for a touchdown, but it was so badly thrown behind him that the ball caromed off his hands and fell into Vaughn's.
Denver's first half can be summed up in each team's two-minute drives.
The Broncos bumbled and ended up three-and-out. The Chargers marched down, and bombed it deep for a touchdown to go up 23-10 at the half.
Since Week 7 of 2009, the Broncos were 1-17 when down at half, the only win being a Tebow-led comeback last year against Houston.
Maybe head coach John Fox was aware of the stat, or maybe he realized it was finally time to listen to the fans, bench Kyle Orton and play Tebow.
That's not to say Tebow was perfect, his performance was flawed, but his will to win was undeniable.
In his first two drives, it was evident that Tebow wasn't up to NFL game speed and he struggled. Of course, he played excitingly, despite going three-and-out twice.
On one third down, Tebow dropped back and read his receivers, scanning the field for an open one. No one open, Tebow bought time by scrambling to his left and, just as he was hit, threw a deep floater down field that barely glanced off Eric Decker's fingertips.
When Tebow came in, the entire team seemed fired up, the defense even started stepping up in the second half. They were more energized, forcing a three-and-out, holding the Chargers to a 51-yard field goal.
Then Tebow came into his own, and drove Denver down field, eventually capping off the drive for a touchdown. He ran with a quickness up the middle of the field, untouched into the end zone. It was easy-looking and well done, and just like that, the Broncos were down only one score (with a two-point conversion), 26-18.
On the next defensive drive for Denver, Robert Ayers put pressure on Rivers and forced a fumble.
Tebow lead the team with enthusiasm and the team responded by playing harder for him.
When he took the reigns of the Broncos offense again, he ran up the middle, this time for eight yards. Tebow got up clapping, pumping up his teammates. Willis McGahee picked up the big first down right afterwords—the team was energized.
Tebow then did what he does best. Being blitzed from the outside, he fell backward, avoiding the fumble while tossing a perfect pass to Knowshon Moreno, and Moreno scored the long touchdown to bring the Broncos to within two points.
This was football. This was exciting.
And on the two-point conversion, Tebow threw up a solid back-shoulder pass to Lloyd, which was dropped even though it hit the receiver in the hands. After the score, the young quarterback was seen leading his team, telling the defense he needed the ball back.
The defense did get Tim the ball back, but with only 24 seconds left. Tebow's first throw was on the money, slightly behind Lloyd, but Lloyd reeled in the 20-yard reception. Nineteen seconds left. Hearts beating loudly in Denver.
Tebow stepped up in the pocket and hit Daniel Fells down the middle of the field for 40 yards. The team had to line up and spike the ball to clock it on the Chargers' 29 yard line, setting up for one final play.
On the last play of the game, Tebow ran like a chicken with its head cut off, evaded pass rushers and managed to get a ball up in the end zone. It was dropped and the Broncos lost, but it was obvious the second-year quarterback gave the team the best chance to win.
The team didn't win, but Denver die-hards were still chanting “Te-Bow, Te-Bow” as the Broncos left the field.
Tim Tebow created a little Mile High Magic Sunday afternoon and gave fans something to hope for.
And they will undoubtedly hope for Tebow to start in two weeks—in Florida where he played his college football—after the bye week. It only makes sense. They have two weeks to prepare, two weeks to get Tebow as ready as he can be and the team should never look back after that.
John Fox said he believed, “Tim Tebow sparked the team today,” it was easy to see the team played much better all around when he played.
Still, no one believes the Broncos can win the AFC West or even make the playoffs as a wild card, so Denver needs to test Tebow now, see what they have going forward so they can better prepare for the future in the coming draft.
No need to suck for Luck if Tebow fits Broncos.
Rich Kurtzman is a freelance journalist actively seeking a career in journalism. Along with being your CSU Rams Examiner, Kurtzman writes for Blake Street Bulletin, Stadium Journey, Bleacher Report, and Swoosh Nation.
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