Fans came to Sports Authority Field in Denver eager to display their best "Tebow" after what they hoped would be a huge win for the Broncos.
Instead, the natural order of things was restored, and the Lions proved why they are a team that has ascended to the upper echelon in the NFL and the Broncos are still a major contender for the top overall pick in 2012.
The Denver Broncos saw firsthand what three bad quarters of football against a good team can look like, which is in stark contrast to how it unfolded last week. Like clockwork, the Denver offense showed signs of life later in the fourth quarter with a Tebow touchdown pass to Decker, but it was far too little too late in this game.
Here are four more things that we learned about the Broncos after this crushing loss to the Lions.
Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins are still finding ways to make an impact on games, even with almost 30 years or experience combined between them.
It was clear that the Lions made a plan to keep the ball away from Bailey and instead found other ways to involve their best player, Calvin Johnson, in their offense. Even though Champ was beaten on the free play that Stafford took a shot to Johnson with, he still did a nice job neutralizing Johnson on the outside.
Most of Johnson's yardage came from plays made in the slot where the Broncos allowed Chris Harris to match up with him.
Either way, Bailey and Dawkins both could be huge contributors if the defense around them was a little better and gave them the freedom to seek big plays.
The first drive from the Broncos was exciting and showed a glimpse of how the offense could operate successfully.
The plays were crisp, the throws were timely and it was a matter of inches that caused the Broncos not to cash in with a touchdown.
As the game wore on, though, it became clear that those plays, in that sequence, must have been the only ones that the Broncos practiced all week long. After that the offense got stagnant, Tebow became flustered and the Lions began pinning their ears back.
This game showed all of the worst flaws in Tebow's quarterbacking ability. However, that first drive and some of the quicker drop backs and option style plays that came later in the fourth quarter are signs that there is room for growth.
Apart from one or two good rushes authored by Lance Ball, the Denver Broncos rushing attack—without Willis McGahee—was not, and will not be, a factor.
McGahee is the only Denver running back with the vision to find the holes and soft spots in the defensive fronts that he faces.
Had McGahee been able to go in this game, the outcome might have been slightly different, as it would be likely that his running might have shortened some of the third down distances that the Broncos constantly faced.
It is hard to evaluate the defense since they spend so much time on the field and not much time on the sidelines adjusting. Maybe that is backwards, though, and because the defense is on the field so much, there is ample time to pick out every flaw that they have.
This is no surprise, but the defense gets no help with constant three and outs by the offense. They miss out on valuable coaching and adjustment time that other teams receive when their offenses mount long drives.
Give the Denver defense a break—literally and figuratively. Who knows how much better they will seem when we start to see less of them on the field.