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Tim Tebow vs. Jets: Stats, Highlights and Reaction from Preseason Week 4

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2015

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 03: Tim Tebow #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks to pass during warmups before their pre-season game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on September 3, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles finished their preseason schedule Thursday with a 24-18 loss to the New York Jets, but quarterback Tim Tebow made quite the statement in defeat.

It is only preseason—and he largely played against backup defenders—but Tebow is fighting for an Eagles roster spot and did virtually all he could to convince his coaching staff of his worthiness Thursday. The left-handed quarterback played for half of the game, and Philadelphia's offense appeared more comfortable and scored 15 of its 18 points with him in the backfield.

Here is a look at Tebow's final stats:    

Tim Tebow Thursday Stats
Passing AttemptsPassing YardsPassing TouchdownsInterceptionsQuarterback RatingRushing AttemptsRushing YardsRushing Touchdowns
11-of-1718921117.04320
ESPN.com

Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports offered his congratulations for Tebow after the performance:

Bruce Feldman @BruceFeldmanCFB

Hats off to Tebow. Saw how hard he worked w/ Tom House. Kept working it when so many told him to give it up. https://t.co/Vb0mfyHhrX

Perhaps the most significant news for the quarterback came before the Eagles took the field against the Jets. Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer noted coach Chip Kelly would alternate quarters between Tebow and Matt Barkley, with Tebow playing in the second and fourth. The strategy provided plenty of playing time to make an impact, and he took advantage.

Barkley certainly didn't look the part early and threw an interception on the second play of scrimmage. Tebow got the offense back on track in the second quarter, although he took some time to settle into the flow of the game.

Brandon Lee Gowton of SB Nation pointed out the quarterback didn't receive much help from his teammates, although Connor Hughes of About.com was not convinced:

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Brandon Lee Gowton @BrandonGowton

Tebow is making some good throws but he’s not getting help from WRs. Two drops now.

Connor Hughes @Connor_J_Hughes

I’m sitting here in the press box trying to figure out how Tim Tebow won a playoff game as a starting quarterback.

Tebow flipped the switch and marched the Eagles 85 yards for a touchdown near the end of the half to cut the lead to 17-12. He hit Rasheed Bailey with a strike for an 18-yard score on third down and appeared comfortable throwing from the pocket during the drive.

The NFL provided a highlight of the play, while Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer praised the lefty for the strong throw:

NFL @NFL

.@TimTebow came here to stand in the pocket and throw touchdowns. You're welcome to watch the show. #TebowTime http://t.co/p8NqVA22Ew

Jeff McLane @Jeff_McLane

That's the best throw I've seen from Tim Tebow since he came to the #Eagles. Perfectly-tossed back shoulder TD to Rasheed Bailey. #Eagles

In all, Tebow went 6-of-10 for 105 yards and a touchdown and added two carries for 18 yards in the second quarter. Ross Tucker of NBC Sports Network seemed to think it was enough to garner the former Florida Gator a spot on Philadelphia's roster:

Ross Tucker @RossTuckerNFL

Tebow just made the team. Miraculously.

By the time Tebow returned to the field in the fourth quarter, his Eagles trailed 24-12, which probably helped his chances to make the team. After all, Barkley finished a disappointing 4-of-9 for 45 yards and an interception and failed to lead Philadelphia on a single touchdown drive.

Hughes acknowledged the silver lining for Tebow in the race for a roster spot:

Connor Hughes @Connor_J_Hughes

Matt Barkley looks like a QB that can get beat out by Tim Tebow. I can’t believe I typed that without any hint of sarcasm.

Perhaps sensing the opportunity, Tebow lofted a 45-yard bomb down the middle of the field to Freddie Martino early in the final quarter. While he threw a pick on a desperation fourth-down attempt to end that drive, it was impossible to ignore the touch, as the NFL highlighted: 

NFL @NFL

.@TimTebow can't throw with touch? 45-yard bomb. Watch the placement. #PHIvsNYJ http://t.co/IIeT0hGKou

The throw to Martino foreshadowed what was to come because Tebow found him in the corner of the end zone on the very next Eagles drive to cut the deficit to 24-18. ESPN's Skip Bayless commented on another impressive play from the quarterback:

Skip Bayless @RealSkipBayless

Ho hum, another Tebow TD pass, this one after escaping free rusher, rolling left. Tebow, unleashed.

Unfortunately for Eagles fans, that touchdown toss was the last time Tebow saw the field. The Jets strung together a number of first downs and bled away the rest of the clock to secure the 24-18 victory.

What's Next?

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 03: Quarterback Tim Tebow #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks to pass as he gets protection from Dennis Kelly #67 who blocks Deion Barnes #50 of the New York Jets in the first half during a pre-season game at MetLife Stadi
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

With the preseason officially in the rearview mirror, it is now time for Tebow to wait for his coaches to decide whether he did enough to make the roster as the third quarterback behind Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez.

The quarterback commented on his status, per Martin Frank of the Delaware News Journal:

Martin Frank @Mfranknfl

#Tebow on waiting out cuts: "I’ve said this a lot of times, and I really mean it, I’m not going to worry to what I can’t control." #Eagles

Bayless advocated on Tebow's behalf:

Skip Bayless @RealSkipBayless

1 thing Tebow has going for him: Chip Kelly chose him. Chip's pride on line. Chip wants to show he can succeed w/ Tebow where others failed.

Bayless wasn't the only one who pointed to Tebow's ability to play at the NFL level.

Two-time Super Bowl-winning coach and Fox analyst Jimmy Johnson discussed the former Florida Gator's status on the radio show of Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel (via OrlandoSentinel.com): "Tim Tebow brings so much to the table and so much to the team that if you were very good in all the different areas—offensive line, running the football, defense—I think you could be successful with Tim Tebow as your quarterback."

New addition DeMarco Murray led the league in rushing yards last season while in Dallas, so the Eagles at least have the rushing attack in place around Tebow if he was to see time at quarterback.

Still, even if Tebow makes the team, he likely won't see much of the field unless there are injuries. But he could play a role in specially designed packages. His versatility and ability to pick up critical short third downs or two-point conversions with his legs make him valuable, especially in comparison to Barkley, who isn't as mobile.

That, along with Thursday's performance, could be enough for Tebow to make the 2015 Philadelphia Eagles. The team opens the regular season on Monday Night Football against the Atlanta Falcons on September 14.

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