The Denver Broncos are one of the worst teams in the league.
No need to sugar-coat the truth, and they showed how terrible they can be with their 50-plus minutes of football futility Sunday afternoon in Miami.
The Broncos offense was offensive for nearly the entire game. They started 0-of-9 on third-down conversions and mid-way through the third quarter, their passing game gained all of two total yards on 10 passes.
Denver's play calling left much to be desired—it ran on 14 straight first downs—with an ultra-conservative approach while limiting Tebow's chances for failures and successes through the air. It was also obvious that Tebow—in his first start of the season—was struggling to get back to NFL-game speed and his inexperience was blatant.
Yes, the Broncos were completely inept on offense for most of the game, until it really mattered.
With 5:23 left in the contest and his Denver team down 15-0, Tim Tebow turned on the magic.
Before that drive, Tebow was 4-of-10 passing, missing some throws by a mile, but he pushed past all the bad play from earlier in the game and finally got comfortable in the pocket.
Tebow started the drive from the 20 with a beautiful pass to the sideline to Demaryius Thomas for 15 yards and a first down. Later in the drive, Tebow threw a pinpoint-precise pass to Matthew Willis across the middle of the field for 42 yards, leading the receiver perfectly and allowing him to run after the catch. It was arguably the best pass the second-year quarterback has ever made at the NFL level.
Two plays later, when Tebow was being blitzed from the outside, he spun away and took off with the ball for 13 yards down to the Dolphins' 5. On the very next play, the athletic quarterback spun away from a sack and threw a strike to Thomas in the front right corner of the end zone for the Broncos' first score of the day.
The touchdown kept the Broncos from being shut out, which would have ended their longest in the NFL streak that dates back to 1992.
Denver recovered the onside kick with merely 2:27 remaining—only the second one recovered in the fourth quarter of a game all season—and the Broncos were back in business with the ball at their own 44.
Tebow hit Thomas on first down for seven yards, and two plays later he ran to the right for a first down. After an incomplete pass, Tebow hit Eddie Royal and Eric Decker on short routes for another first down on Miami's 31.
After an incomplete throw to Willis, Tebow floated the ball down the middle of the field to tight end Daniel Fells, who made an amazing catch at the Dolphins' 3-yard line. Two plays later, he hit Fells on a perfectly timed throwback screen for an untouched touchdown.
With Denver down 13-15, they had to go for two and Tebow walked into the end zone to tie the game up at 15.
Tim Terrific provided some Mile High magic in Miami, leading the Broncos—almost solely through the air—on two touchdown drives in less than five minutes.
For a kid making his fourth start in the NFL, his performance in the clutch was spectacular.
While Tebow started the game 4-of-10, in the last two drives he went 9-of-13 for 121 yards and two touchdowns when Denver needed him to do something special.
However, despite the Broncos eventually winning the game in overtime, Tebow's performance was far from perfect.
The second-year starter struggled mightily for the first three quarters (although he did run for 48 yards during that time) and it's evident he needs time to mature as a quarterback to be considered elite.
That being said, Tebow is the type of player that will never be considered a “perfect pocket passer” in the NFL. Tebow is the guy that will do everything in his power to will his team to victory, be it spinning out of sure sacks, scampering for first downs or throwing it downfield.
And while Tebow won't win any accuracy contests, he has all the intangibles that give him the opportunity to win games at the NFL level.
T-squared leads the team by example while hyping them up in the huddle. He evades sacks with an athletic ability that only three other quarterbacks possess (Vick, Newton and Roethlisberger), creating chances with his mobility that give him a strategic advantage. And Tebow not only energizes his offense, he gives life—and hope—to the entire team.
Most importantly, Tebow has one of the best attitudes in all of football, he's willing to be accountable for the team's missteps.
“It's my fault that we were in that position in the first place,” Tebow said, shouldering the load of an awful team performance to that point. “I just have to play better in the first three quarters so we're not in that position to have to come back.”
“We kept believing. It wasn't pretty for 57 minutes, but that's why you play for 60 minutes. It doesn't always have to be pretty, but if you keep fighting, eventually good things will happen for you. I'm very thankful to be on a team with this much heart.”
When John Elway was quarterbacking the Broncos, some said the team always thought it had a chance to win. With two fourth-quarter comebacks in five NFL starts, Tim Tebow seems to be instilling that same sentiment in his current Bronco teammates.
And maybe most importantly, Tebow brings national relevance to Denver. The Broncos are coming off their worst season in history (at 2-4, this year's team doesn't look much better), yet they are ever topical with Tebow at QB.
So be him a runner, a passer, a leader, a come-from-behind orchestrator or just an athletic freak, Tebow showed today why he deserves to play in the NFL.
Next up, proving he's an elite NFL quarterback.
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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