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Is Tim Tebow Singlehandedly Keeping the Wildcat Relevant?

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Is Tim Tebow Singlehandedly Keeping the Wildcat Relevant?
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Somehow, Tim Tebow continues to strengthen the arguments of both his supporters and detractors. 

He's completed only 12 passes over his past two games, but he's 2-0 over that stretch and has thrown three touchdowns without a single interception.

He managed just 69 yards passing in a win over the Kansas City Chiefs, gaining 112 yards overall, but he led three scoring drives, picking up two TDs of his own.

And although he's running an offense that could turn Paul Johnson into an NFL convert, he has the Broncos tied for second place in the AFC West after leading a 3-1 surge over the past four weeks.

Still, there are some who just don't think you can consistently win by running the ball 55 times a game and throwing only eight passes. Never mind that they're the same people who croon about founding championship teams with brutal rushing attacks, they'll still claim that Denver can't advance while sending the forward pass back to the '40s.

And to some degree, they're correct. Denver won't face the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders every week, and we've already seen the results when they're forced to confront a defensive line of Detroit's caliber. They're going to have to find a way to balance their offense if they want any shot of winning their division, even if it is a watered down group.

In a way, that's good news. The biggest problem with the Broncos passing game in Week 10's win over Kansas City was their own fear of it. Tebow may have finished just 2-of-8, but at least four of those passes were catchable. His scoring strike to Eric Decker wasn't just his best throw of the season; it was one of best throws we've seen from from anyone this year.

His propensity to tuck his head and use his legs and the warped look of an NFL team running the zone read makes comparison's to the "wildcat" offense easy, but that doesn't mean they're accurate.

Tebow's thrown at least one touchdown pass in each of his seven career NFL starts, a feat never seen from a "wildcat" sideshow player. He's tossed only one interception all season, and his quarterback rating has dipped below 91 only once in five 2011 appearances.

He's no Aaron Rodgers, but does he really have to be? He's a true dual-threat weapon who has coupled 605 passing yards and seven touchdowns through the air with over 300 rushing yards and two more scores. And he's leading an improving team fresh off stringing together consecutive divisional wins for the first time since 2009, which was also the last time they won back-to-back games against anyone.

The wildcat offense works best when there's at least a hint of a threat that the running back could pull up and complete a pass, even if the chances of a smart throw are minimal.

That's not the case with No. 15, who has thrown 12 touchdowns against just four interceptions through his first seven chances at first string. That's a better mark than Sam Bradford (9:8), Matt Ryan (7:5) and Cam Newton (8:9) achieved at the same point in their careers, and Tebow's already done it under three different head coaches.

So, no, he's not proving that the wildcat is safe from extinction or that "passing running backs" can win games. He's proving that he's a quarterback. And a pretty successful one at that.

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