Ranking Tim Tebow's Best Moments as Denver Broncos QB
Whatever the case may be for Tebow's departure—whether that was a lack of confidence from the front office in Tebow as the future franchise quarterback, the fear of Tebow's fanbase coming into play too often or a lack of belief that Peyton Manning and Tebow could co-exist together after Tebow's successful stint as quarterback during the '11 season—it's now set in stone that Tebow is no longer a Bronco.
In Tebow's two-year stint with the Broncos, he provided many magical moments.
Who could forget the six-game winning streak in the middle of the season that catapulted the Broncos from afterthoughts into playoff contenders?
What about the seven game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime?
Tebow's stint as a Bronco may have been short-lived, but it will never be forgotten.
Here are Tebow's greatest moments as a Denver Bronco.
7. Broncos vs Chargers: Tebow Leads 4th-Quarter Comeback; Overtime Victory
Tebow's Stat Line: 9 Comp, 18 Att, 143 Yds, 1 TD, 22 Rush, 67 Yds
This was a pivotal game for both AFC West teams.
The Broncos entered this game riding off of Tebow-mania, having won four of their five games with Tebow as the starting quarterback. They had officially entered the AFC Wild Card picture and were just a game behind Oakland for the AFC West division lead. This was one of the peak moments of the Tebow era in Denver, as this game succeeded the game in which Tebow ran for the game-winning touchdown against the Jets.
The Chargers were in the midst of a five-game losing streak. It seemed no matter how competitive they were, they came out on the losing end of every game. Norv Turner's job was yet again on the hot seat.
Like many games started by Tebow, this game was a low-scoring affair. The Chargers opened the game with a 10-0 lead, before Tebow would hit Eric Decker with a touchdown pass to cut the lead to 10-7 before halftime.
As the game progressed, it eventually got to 13-10 by the end of the third quarter, where it would remain until the last couple of minutes of regulation.
With 2:31 remaining, Tebow and the Broncos would get the ball back after a SD punt where they would take over at their own 26-yard line. What followed on the drive was a 39-yard completion to Decker, to go along with a 26-yarder to tight end Dante Rosario which would position kicker Matt Prater to kick the game-tying 24-yard field goal with 1:34 remaining.
The Chargers would fail to convert on their final drive of regulation, leading to a 13-13 tie to force overtime.
This was one of those games where it was a combination of Tebow-mania and just pure luck occurring for the Broncos to get the win.
Chargers kicker Nick Novak had a chance to win the game with a little over two minutes remaining in overtime. He missed the 53-yard field goal after the Chargers had lost four yards on the previous play on a Mike Tolbert carry.
The Broncos would go on to take over at their own 43, where Tebow would lead Denver 38 yards down the field for Prater's game-winning 37-yard field goal.
Final Score: Broncos 16 Chargers 13 (Overtime)
6. Texans vs Broncos: Tebow Wins the Game with 6-Yard Rushing Touchdown
Tebow's Stat Line: 16 Comp, 29 Att, 308 Yds, 1 TD, 1 Int, 10 Rush, 27 Yds, 1 TD
This was where it all started.
Tebow's second career start took place during the 2010 season due to Kyle Orton's nagging injuries as the season came to a close.
Although this comeback is often forgotten due to it taking place during Denver's AFC-worst 4-12 record during the '10 season, it is perhaps one of Tebow's most impressive comebacks in his young career.
The Broncos trailed in this entire game up until the last five minutes of regulation. They were down 17-0 at the end of the first half, before they would eventually trail 23-10.
The Broncos would start their comeback early in the fourth quarter when Tebow completed a screen pass to Correll Buckhalter to trim the lead to 23-17.
With about five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Tebow would complete the Broncos' comeback by running it in from six yards out to complete a 76-yard game-winning touchdown drive in just his second career start, giving the Broncos just their fourth victory of the season.
Final Score: Broncos 24 Texans 23
5. Broncos vs Vikings: Tebow Wins Shootout with Christian Ponder
Tebow's Stat Line: 10 Comp, 15 Att, 202 Yds, 2 TD, 4 Rush, 13 Yds
The reason that this game was significant, other than the fact it was yet another comeback victory for the "Denver Tebows," was because it was the first game since Tebow was named the starting quarterback that he truly displayed a consistent passing game from start to finish.
The Broncos got into a shootout with Minnesota, where it was a one-possession game in favor of the Vikings from the second quarter until near the end of the game.
Let me make this a short story.
The Vikings were up 32-29 with 3:10 remaining in the game. The Broncos took over at their own 20-yard line. The Broncos would be put in position to tie the game after Tebow completed a 40-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas all the way to Minnesota's 28-yard line.
Prater would go on to kick a 46-yard field goal to tie the game.
OK, now that that is out of the way, like many Tebow comebacks, this had the help of other factors.
Ponder, who possibly had the best game of his young career in this matchup, threw an interception straight to Andre Goodman, which was returned for 20 yards all of the way to the Minnesota 15-yard line.
This would set up Prater's 23-yard field goal to win the game as time expired.
Although the comeback was aided by the defense and Prater, Tebow consistently kept up with Ponder, who threw for three touchdowns and 381 yards in this game.
Before this Week 13 matchup at the Vikings, it was believed that the Broncos weren't a team equipped to win a high-scoring game with Tebow at the helm.
This game proved the detractors wrong.
Final Score: Broncos 35 Vikings 32
4. Jets vs Broncos: Tebow Caps Comeback with 20-Yard Rushing Touchdown
Tebow Stat Line: 9 Comp, 20 Att, 104 Yds, 8 Rush, 68 Yds, 1 TD
OK, this game was a perfect example of how ugly things could get for the Broncos' offense.
From the time that the Broncos got on the board with a Prater field goal with a little over five minutes remaining in the first quarter until the time that the Broncos took over from their own 5-yard line with 5:54 remaining in the game, the Broncos' offense had not put a single point on the board.
The Broncos were able to tie up the game 10-10 late in the third quarter due to an Andre Goodman interception return for a touchdown.
Nonetheless, as ugly as Tebow and the Broncos were in this game, they somehow managed to pull out the victory.
In one of the most electrifying moments in the 11-year history of Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Tebow would lead the Broncos 95 yards down the field, where he would cap it off with a 20-yard rushing touchdown with just 54 seconds remaining to give the Broncos a 17-13 victory.
Of the 95 yards gained on the drive, 57 of them were from Tebow's legs alone.
This was the game that started making people believe that the Broncos might just have a chance at making it to the playoffs.
Final Score: Broncos 17 Jets 13
3. Bears vs Broncos: The Broncos Pull off a Miracle at Mile High
Tebow's Stats: 21 Comp, 39 Att, 237 Yds, 1 TD, 1 Int, 12 Rush, 49 Yds
You remember how I said the Jets game was "ugly"?
Yeah, this one was no different.
Although Tebow's final stats are deceiving, this was one of the Broncos' worst efforts on offense during the '11 season.
Let's put it as simply as possible.
Denver did not score until there was just under 2:15 remaining in the game. With Tebow's touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas, it made the game 10-7.
Prater would kick an onside kick, which would be recovered by the Chicago Bears with 2:05 remaining. The Broncos had no remaining timeouts. You would think the game would be over now, right?
Marion Barber would have to say something about that. In one of the dumbest plays that you'll see in an NFL game, with the chance to ice the game and drain the clock, Barber would run the ball out of bounds on second down with 1:55 to play.
Think about this. If Barber stays in bounds like he is supposed to do, that drains at least 40 more seconds off the clock. Which means that instead of Denver getting the ball back with 56 seconds remaining, at best, they would have gotten the ball back with just 16 seconds remaining at their own 20-yard line.
Somehow, the football gods dictated that the Broncos would win this game yet again.
Denver took over at their own 20-yard line. Tebow drove the Broncos 39 yards to the Chicago 41, where Prater hit hit a 59-yard field goal to tie the game 10-10 with just a few ticks left on the clock to send the game into overtime.
OK, are you still with me? I'm exhausted just from typing that.
What would follow in overtime is just about as equally mind boggling.
On Chicago's first drive of the game, they managed to take it all of the way to the Denver 38. With the game seemingly in Chicago's hands yet again, Barber seized control of the game. And by seize control, I mean seize control for the Broncos. Again.
Barber ran the ball for five more yards to effectively put the Bears in field goal range to win the game, before miraculously fumbling the football, thus, giving the Broncos yet another chance to win the game.
Thus, he choked away a second straight opportunity at sealing the game for the Bears in less than a 20-minute span of real time.
This would lead to Tebow driving the Broncos 35 yards down the field for a Prater 51-yard game-winning field goal in overtime.
Any more questions?
Final Score: Broncos 13 Bears 10 (Overtime)
2. Steelers vs Broncos: Tebow Leads Huge Upset in Finest Game Yet
Tebow Stat Line: 10 Comp, 21 Att, 316 Yds, 2 TD, 10 Rush, 50 Yds, 1 TD
If memory serves me correctly, the Broncos entered this game as 11-point underdogs.
Boy, was Vegas ever wrong.
From the beginning of the second quarter until Tebow's game-winning 80-yard touchdown pass to Thomas on the first play of overtime, it was pretty much set in stone that this would be a dogfight. This wouldn't be a beating at the hands of the Steelers.
Tebow would break the postseason record for single game yards per completion and yards per attempt by throwing for an astounding 316 yards. Tebow had three completions go over 50 yards, all of which went to Thomas.
The Broncos dominated the majority of this game, up until late in the third quarter, where the Steelers were able to come back from 20-6 to tie the game 23-23 with just 3:56 remaining.
After Denver's defense literally knocked the Steelers out of field-goal range after marching all of the way to the Denver 39 on their final drive of regulation, Tebow would connect with Thomas yet again for the 80-yard game-winning score on the opening play of overtime.
Final Score: DEN 29 PIT 23 (Overtime)
1. Broncos vs Dolphins: "The Miracle in Miami"
Tebow's Stat Line: 13 Comp, 27 Att, 161 Yds, 2 TD, 9 Rush, 59 Yds
OK, I might get a little bit of flack for putting this No. 1 over the playoff victory, but in my mind, nothing tops this one.
Maybe I'm a little bit biased because I was at this game, and I had to deal with all of the Dolphins fans that were constantly jeering Tebow and making fun of his ability as a quarterback. But how could you not place this No. 1 as far as Tebow moments are concerned?
He had the worst game that you could possibly have for an NFL quarterback until the last five minutes of this game. He threw for less than 30 yards in the first half. Up until the Broncos took over with just 5:23 left at their own 20-yard line, Tebow was just 4/14 for 40 yards.
Then, the miracle happened.
Tebow would complete five of his six passes before capping it with a five-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas to cut the deficit down to 15-7 with just a little over 2:40 remaining in the game.
With the Broncos needing an onside kick recovery to keep their slim hopes alive, Dolphins receiver Marlon Moore fumbled the ball with a chance to finish off the game, and the Broncos recovered it.
This would lead to Tebow driving Denver down the field in 10 plays for 56 yards before completing the drive with a three-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Fells to cut the score to 15-13. He would go on to rush for an easy two-point conversion untouched to tie the game 15-15.
The Broncos would win the game with a 52-yard field goal by Prater in overtime with 7:24 left. It is the only time in modern NFL history that a team down 15-0 with just a little less than three minutes remaining has come back to win the game.
Not a bad way to start off your career as the official starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos, huh?
Final Score: Broncos 18 Dolphins 15 (Overtime)