Tag:Tracking Tebow
Posted on: January 17, 2012 10:30 am
Edited on: January 17, 2012 10:31 am
 

Tracking Tebow: And so it ends…until next season

We're Tracking Tebow … because it's impossible not to watch. 

By Ryan Wilson

The Broncos' run ended ingloriously Saturday night, 97 days after Tim Tebow replaced Kyle Orton at quarterback. Denver went 8-5 in those 13 weeks, a stretch that included six straight wins followed by three straight losses, which preceded a "didn't see that coming, did you?" offensive explosion against the Steelers in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

But the Tebow aerial assault was fleeting; New England wasn't going to let Tebow do to them what he did to an aggressive Pittsburgh defense. Instead, they mixed their coverages, generated pressure with four and five rushers, kept Tebow contained in the pocket and generally made his Saturday night a miserable experience.

But the setback is temporary; after the Broncos started the season 1-4 with Orton, no one expected them to make the playoffs much less win the AFC West. And yet they did, with an unconventional quarterback running a college offense. And guess what? Denver's ready to do it all again next season, too.

As soon as the Broncos' season was over the speculation began on Tebow's future as an NFL starter. On Monday, team vice president John Elway announced that Tebow had "earned the right" to be the team's quarterback heading into training camp and the hall of famer plans to play an active role in Tebow's development.

"There are things that I can add," Elway said. "Where I can help him ... I'm looking forward to it."


Elway's right -- Tebow has earned the job -- but if the organization is truly committed to him (and we're not convinced they are long term) then that means building the entire offense around one person, right down to a backup quarterback proficient at running Tebow's brand of option football.

If it seems extreme, think of it this way: what happens if Tebow goes down? Denver's offense suddenly reverts to its pre-Tebow playbook? And the remaining starters -- all of whom have spent months practicing the option offense, will suddenly be expected to run a conventional offense? In the middle of a game? That ain't happening.

The downside: if Tebow falters next season and the Broncos decide they'd prefer to run a more conventional system run by a more conventional quarterback, then for the second time in as many offseasons they'll be rebuilding the roster based on a new offensive philosophy.

So, yeah, it's a risk. But this is the same team that went with Orton out of training camp and won once in the first five weeks of the season. Tebow, even with all his flaws, fared much better.

And now with an offseason to work on, well, everything, it's reasonable to think that he'll be a lot better in August than he was in January.


                                                   Play by Play



(Note: Below are the plays -- both running and passing -- involving Tebow. You can view the entire play-by-play breakdown here)




                                                        Quotes



"Kind of like our football team, I was really proud where he started and where he brought this team. We are a work in progress. We have got a lot of work to do and that hasn't changed, you know, for some time. And as I mentioned earlier, you know, the two matchups we had against the New England Patriots, I think it is evident that we have work to do."  - Head coach John Fox on Tebow's overall performance this season

"A lot of ups and downs. Overall it's been a very special opportunity for me, something I've very thankful for, very thankful I had the opportunity to build some of the great relationships with teammates and coaches. We've overcome a lot of different forms of adversity, to win some special games, to have great memories of last week and to be able to get into the playoffs. There's a lot of things we are proud of, even though it's hard to see that now.  " - Tebow, after the game Saturday night

"Tim has earned the right to be the starting quarterback going into training camp next year. He made some good strides." - John Elway, executive vice president of football operations


                                                   Audio-Visual




Instead of playing press coverage, the Patriots often disguised their looks. Whatever happened presnap, the outcome was usually the same: contain Tebow, make him hold the ball, and win your one-on-one matchups. Here Tebow is sacked for an 11-yard loss.

(Note: click to englarge photos.) One thing Tebow will have to get better at: reading defenses and going through his progressions. In this play that ultimately led to a sack, Tebow stares down his receiver to the right. By the time he finally looks for other options, it's too late, the pocket has collapsed, and he's taken down. The receiver to the left is open, Tebow just never looks his way.


                                                   Eye on Tebow



Jan 14, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) on the field after the game against the New England Patriots in the 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Broncos 45- 10. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:00 am
Edited on: January 10, 2012 10:01 am
 

Tracking Tebow: wild, wild, wild-card weekend

We're Tracking Tebow … because it's impossible not to watch. 

By Ryan Wilson

After three weeks off, Tim Tebow has returned with a vengeance that only God could appreciate. The Steelers' game plan against the Broncos was what everybody expected: stop the running game and make Tebow beat you with his arm. Because for as fantastic as the second-year quarterback had been for the floundering franchise, the reality was this: head coach John Fox and executive vice president John Elway appeared wholly uninterested in moving forward with Tebow as their starter, and it would surprise no one if they had already given some thought to who else might be under center in 2012 -- especially given how the final three weeks of the season unfolded.

But in typical Tebow fashion, defying logic and physics along the way, he proved that above all else, he's a winner. The Steelers were successful in what they sought out to do: shut down the league's best rushing game. It's just that they didn't account for Tebow's sudden mastery of the deep ball, nor did they expect cornerback Ike Taylor to have the the worst game of his career.

Pittsburgh crowded the line of scrimmage with eight players and left Taylor in single coverage on Demaryius Thomas all day. And all day, Thomas did what he wanted and Tebow had little trouble throwing on time and with accuracy. We joked about it on the most recent episode of the Pick-6 Podcast, but nobody -- Tebow, his family members, Urban Meyer, his high school coach, Thomas -- figured he'd be stroking it like he was Jeff George playing a pick-up game against a bunch of middle schoolers.


Will it last? Common sense says no because every expert proclaimes that Tebow isn't an NFL quarterback. But every time we doubt this guy, he proves us wrong. Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has a saying: "Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you." On Sunday, Tebow was a grizzly and the Steelers were salmon. But there's no way he can do that against the Patriots, right? Right?!


                                                   Play by Play



(Note: Below are the plays -- both running and passing -- involving Tebow. You can view the entire play-by-play breakdown here)




                                                        Quotes



"We felt we had a good grasp of what they would try to do to us. They made more plays than we thought they were capable of making. We really hadn't seen that out of [Tebow] on tape." - Steelers linebacker James Farrior

"We saw on film that their safeties pressed [toward the line of scrimmage], so we knew we had to throw the ball to beat them. They were the No. 1 defense, so I feel they wanted to make a statement to stop the run. I don't know if they forgot about our passing game, or what. The past few games, we weren't passing the ball that great. They gave us opportunities." - Broncos wide receiver DeMaryius Thomas

"I think that's fair to say. We were down, but it was like a focus and very intense frustration that we wanted to get back on the field to show that wasn't us. I feel like our attitude and mind-set kind of grew all week. … We tried to be aggressive. I wanted to be aggressive and (offensive coordinator Mike) McCoy taught us to be aggressive, and guys really stepped up and made some great plays." - Tebow


                                                   Audio-Visual




Join CBS Sports' Jim Nantz and Phil Simms for a recap of all the action in Sunday's Steelers-Broncos game.


Denver quarterback Tim Tebow hit Demaryius Thomas for an 80 yard touchdown to send the Broncos to New England for the divisional round of the AFC playoffs as they beat the Steelers 29-23 in overtime.


(Note: click to englarge photos.)
Above is a breakdown of the Broncos' first touchdown, set up by the first of many deep balls from Tebow to Thomas. On the scoring play to Eddie Royal, Tebow sees that William Gay is in single coverage (first frame, rightmost arrow and that Ryan Mundy is playing centerfield (left-pointing arrow). Tebow knows now that he's going to Royal. But first, some post-snap manipulation of the Steelers' secondary. In the second frame, Tebow uses his eyes and shoulders to move Mundy to the left. In the third frame, he looks back to the right, throws on time, and finds Royal, who makes a great catch in the end zone. Mundy has no chance to help on the play. Presnap he was on the right hash, Tebow moved him to the left a few steps, and that was enough to give Royal a one-on-one matchup.


                                                   Eye on Tebow



DENVER, CO - JANUARY 08: Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos runs against Ike Taylor #24 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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Posted on: January 3, 2012 10:00 am
 

Tracking Tebow, Week 17: Stuck in reverse

We're Tracking Tebow … because it's impossible not to watch. 

By Ryan Wilson

Here's all you need to know about Tim Tebow's last three regular-season games: he has one touchdown, seven turnovers and the Broncos are 0-3. It's not entirely his fault -- just like the six-game winning streak wasn't wholly Tebow's doing -- but he's Denver's starting quarterback. Expectations are both high and unfair.

Tebowmania reached a crescendo last month, after the Broncos went from 1-4 to 8-5, but now that the new-car smell has worn off and Tebow apparently doesn't possess otherworldly powers, reality has set in. He's a second-year quarterback who struggles with many of the issues second-year quarterbacks face: reading defenses, throwing accurately, getting the ball out on time and leading an offense.

This isn't news, but it's still a problem for the Broncos, who backed into the playoffs because nobody else wanted to win the AFC West. And now Denver hosts one of the league's best defenses when Pittsburgh comes to town Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

Tebow has regressed in recent weeks and Sunday's effort against the Chiefs was his worst performance since he looked absolutely flummoxed against the Lions back in October.

We've talked about it previously, but the concern with Denver's read-option offensive philosophy was that eventually, defenses would catch up to it, as was the case with the wildcat several seasons ago. Unlike the wildcat, however, teams appear to have figured out the option in weeks instead of months.

The result: the Broncos conventional rushing attack, headed by Willis McGahee, is as good as ever. But with each game, Tebow become less a factor in the running game. When you couple that with his erratic passing skills, that makes him something less than one dimensional. (We talked about just that in the Pick-6 Podcast Week 17 recap below.)


Vegas currently has the Steelers favored by nine points which, frankly, is insane given that a) Pittsburgh is the visiting team and b) this is a playoff game. But the Broncos have a few things going for them. For starters, their defense can get after the quarterback, particularly one that likes to throw the ball only after standing in the pocket for three or four beats too long.

Second, if the Steelers' defense has a weakness, it's stopping the run. McGahee has proven adept at beating eight-man fronts, something he will continue to face as long as Denver keeps playing. Expect defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to look to stop McGahee first and worry later about Tebow beating the Steelers with his arm. It's not an original game plan but it's worked well the last three weeks. No need to change it until Tebow proves otherwise.


                                                   Play by Play



(Note: Below are the plays -- both running and passing -- involving Tebow. You can view the entire play-by-play breakdown here)




                                                        Quotes



"For us to go out there and play the way we did and expect to do anything in the playoffs, it's not going to cut it. We got to get better -- find a way to get better." -- Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey told reporters after the game.

Bailey was asked what exactly needs to get better. "Everything. When we look at our team, we can't say 'this is our strength.' Because everything is mediocre. We gotta get better. … We backed into that thing (the playoffs). It's not the way you want to go in but, hey, we got another shot."

"Well, we're AFC West champs. It doesn't matter how you do it once you get in the dance they can't kick you out. What we do with it will be determined next weekend." -- John Fox


                                                   Audio-Visual




Tim Tebow has always done things the unorthodox way. Making the playoffs was no different. He fell short in his latest comeback bid, yet his Denver Broncos are still going to the playoffs after a 7-3 loss to the Chiefs.

NBC analysts Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison discussed Sunday what teams are doing against Tebow and what he can expect to see from the Steelers next in the playoffs.


Tebow is sacked for a nine-yard loss that knocked the Broncos out of field-goal range.

Here's a screen shot what what the Chiefs did to slow up Tebow all afternoon (click to enlarge).


Dungy: Things don't stay secrets for long in the NFL. Rodney Harrison has been saying for eight weeks, 'This is how you play Tim Tebow.' Romeo Crennel listened to Rodney (in Week 17) … and (Steelers defensive coordinator) Dick LeBeau is going to see the exact same thing. … Tight man-to-man coverage, bump and run on the outside, load the box, and keep your linebackers up the field. This will be James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley next week -- keep Tim Tebow in that box. This is what Kansas City did all day Sunday.

Harrison: You have to understand who you're playing against. These (Denver) receivers are pretty good players but they're not all-star receivers. So you play them tight man-to-man coverage and you force Tim Tebow to make good decisions. The last few weeks, he has not made good decisions.

                                                   Eye on Tebow



Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) is sacked by Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Wallace Gilberry (92) in the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

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Posted on: December 27, 2011 10:45 am
Edited on: December 27, 2011 10:47 am
 

Tracking Tebow, Week 16: Defenses are catching on

We're Tracking Tebow … because it's impossible not to watch. 

By Ryan Wilson

First, the good news: the Broncos control their destiny. At this point in the season, that's all you can ask. Despite dropping their second game in a row in convincing fashion, Denver remains atop the AFC West, and if they beat the Chiefs Sunday, they're division champs, which will earn them the right to face either the Steelers or Ravens in the first round of the playoffs.

For now, though, the Broncos have to fix an offense that has developed a reputation this season with Tim Tebow as its starter of long stretches of ineptitude highlighted by improbable late-game comebacks (one that included a six-game winning streak). Two weeks ago, Denver was 8-5 and coming off an overtime win against the Bears. Now, after getting thoroughly outplayed by the Patriots and the Bills, the questions have returned. Namely: can Tebow be an NFL quarterback and the related: have teams figured out how to stop him and the college offense the Broncos now feature?

Too early to say on the former, but almost certainly yes on the latter.

A week after New England worked to contain Tebow in the pocket and forced him to win the game with his arm, Buffalo perfected the game plan. The Bills usually rushed four, dropped seven into coverage, made sure Tebow didn't break the pocket for long runs, and made him squeeze throws into tight windows, often with disastrous results.

Coming into the game, Tebow had three interceptions. By the time it was over, Tebow had thrown four more, two of the pick-six variety, and he looked flustered all afternoon.

"I think [defensive coordinator Georgge] Edwards did a great job as far as giving us different keys based on what personnel they had in the game and what type of plays they were gonna run," said Bills cornerback Drayton Florence, via the Buffalo News. "When they got in a regular set [two receivers, two backs], it was more traditional runs. When they got in two tight ends, it was more of the option game. So I think our defensive ends did a great job of being aware of that and knowing how they were going to attack us. …

"They just tell Tebow to go out there and run around and make something happen," Florence said. "Early in the game they were running the ball because they didn't have to throw it. He's just using his athletic ability, sort of like Michael Vick was doing early in his career. Just give him one side of the field to read. If it's not there, make something happen and scramble."

Linebacker Kelvin Sheppard added: "We were able to say ... when we're man to man, one of the backers lock the running back and the other one spies the quarterback. mean, it worked to perfection today. They were flushing him, and myself or Nick would go and wrap and contain. It was just a good day all-around."

So now the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments begin in earnest. Which Tebow will show up in Week 17, and God willing, the playoffs? No idea.

But don't mistake the Bills' game plan for Tebow reverting to the form that had him embarrassed by the Lions back in October. He continues to improve, even if incrementally. The problem: as defenses become more comfortable recognizing and attacking the Broncos' option scheme, Denver will need to find ways to adapt. And that will mean using Tebow in more conventional ways. Can they (he) do it? Well, we'll find out, won't we.


                                                   Play by Play



(Note: Below are the plays -- both running and passing -- involving Tebow. You can view the entire play-by-play breakdown here)




                                                        Quotes



"First and foremost, I want to thank my lord and savior, Jesus Christ. Isn't it great that no matter what, win or lose, we have a chance to celebrate my lord and savior's birth tomorrow. That's pretty cool. It's something I'm very excited about, celebrating Christmas. It's going to be a lot of fun." - Tebow's opening remarks during his post-game press conference.

"We knew if we could make (Tebow) one dimensional by stopping the run, there was no way we were going to allow him to come out and throw the ball and beat us with his arm." - Bills safety George Wilson

"“We knew [facing Kyle Orton] was a possibility. So, here it is. We have to go out there and play well. It was best for the team, bottom line. We made that decision knowing this was a possibility. Now we have to do it.” - Broncos executive VP John Elway last Saturday


                                                   Audio-Visual



Moving pictures evidence that the Bills confused Tebow all day.


Broncos QB Tim Tebow throws four interceptions in a 40-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Frame-by-frame breakdown of Tebow's first interception. (In case it's not clear, you'll have to click on the individual images to get the larger view.)

Tebow's first interception of the game came late in the third quarter with the Broncos trailing 23-14. The Bills showed a single high safety (frame 1) pre-snap. After the snap, they dropped seven in coverage and rushed four. It was a five-receiver route. At the top of Tebow's drop, the three deep receivers were all covered (frame 2). Tebow rolled right to avoid the rush and with no running lanes due to good containment (frame 3), he forced a pass 25 yards downfield into triple-coverage (frame 4).


                                                   Eye on Tebow



Buffalo Bills' Chris Kelsay (90) and Arthur Moats (52) sack Denver Broncos' Tim Tebow (15) during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y., Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011. (AP Photo/David Duprey)

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Posted on: December 20, 2011 10:02 am
 

Tracking Tebow, Week 15: Learning experiences

We're Tracking Tebow … because it's impossible not to watch. 

By Ryan Wilson

Here's the deal with the new (old)-look Denver Broncos offense: there is virtually no margin for error. The run-heavy, read-option strategy works so well because a) the defense keeps games close, b) the offensive line is playing out of its mind, c) Tim Tebow and Willis McGahee might be the best backs-by-committee in the league, and d) Tebow doesn't turn the ball over.

Heading into Sunday's game against the Patriots he had just two interceptions and three lost fumbles all year. By the time New England left Denver with a 41-23 win, the Broncos had three turnovers -- all in the first half -- and that, coupled with a Tom Brady-led offense capable of capitalizing off said turnovers, proved to be the difference.


Tebow finished 11 of 22 for 194 yard, and added another 93 rushing yards on 12 carries, including two rushing touchdowns. Unlike the Lions game in Week 8 (the last time the Broncos lost, by the way), where Tebow looked thoroughly confused (and, incidentally, a week before the Broncos went all in on read-option football), the second-year quarterback continues to get better. And, really, that's all you can ask of your 24-year-old former first round pick: show improvement from one week to the next and do it while helping the team go 7-2.

But there are also signs that opposing defenses are beginning to get a bead on the offense that made Tebow a Heisman trophy winner in college. The question now, with two games left in the regular season and the Broncos trying to old onto the AFC West lead: Can Tebow's mastery of option football be enough to overcome its potential flaws? It's one thing for an opponent to know how to stop Tebow, it's something else entirely to actually pull it off.

The Patriots defense, among the worst in the league, was able to slow Tebow but they certainly didn't stop him. They were also the beneficiaries of Tom Brady's right arm (and, if we're splitting perfectly coiffed hairs, his legs -- he had a rushing touchdown for the first time all season).

As it stands, the Broncos are 8-6, a game up on the Chiefs and two games up on the Chargers, with two games to go. If they win in Buffalo and at home to Kansas City, they win the division. Otherwise, we'll have to rely on the nerds down at the nerdery to figure out the possible playoff scenarios.


                                                   Play by Play



(Note: Below are the plays -- both running and passing -- involving Tebow. You can view the entire play-by-play breakdown here)




                                                        Quotes



"The core of what New England did was force Tebow to stay in the pocket and throw. Since he still possesses the accuracy of a malfunctioning Scud missile he was relegated to 11 completions and no throwing touchdowns," - CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman.

"Tebow mania, meet Brady Brass, and kindly kneel down and kiss the ring," - Yahoo.com's Michael Silver

"Personally, that's what I took that as. Because of the build-up between Tebowmania vs. Brady, I think he took that personally. And football is a personal game. I don't blame him for taking it personal. It was our job to keep him out of the end zone so he doesn't spike the ball." - Broncos cornerback André Goodman, explaining Brady's Gronkwoskian spike after scoring a touchdown.

"We did have things going pretty well early. We scored on our first three possessions, but then we put the ball on the ground, and that's something you can't do against a great team. You know Brady is going to make his plays. We've got to hang onto the ball. That's my fault, and I'll get that straight. With the turnovers, we were playing from behind a little bit.'' - Tim Tebow

"He's gotten better every week. Six or seven weeks ago people said that he couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, but I think he does that. I think he can do that. I don't think that's why we lost the game tonight.'' - Broncos head coach John Fox


                                                   Audio-Visual



This is what makes Tebow Tebow-tastic:


Tim Tebow eludes several Patriots defenders to run for a 9-yard touchdown on the Broncos' first possession of the game.

At the other end of the spectrum, there's this…


Tim Tebow tries to extend the play but fails as the Patriots defense sacks the QB for a 28-yard loss.

For a glimpse at how Tebow has improved, here's a simple passing play from early in the game:

With the running game working so well early, the play-action fake (to #35 Lance Ball in this case) froze the linebackers, creating a window for Tebow to hit favorite target Eric Decker on a post pattern. As soon as the inside linebacker turns his head to drop into coverage, Tebow throws the ball at his left ear, finding Decker in the hole in the zone created by the run fake. He wouldn't have made this throw two months ago. 

"I feel like we've gotten better throwing the ball,'' Tebow said after the game. "We were able to do a lot of what we wanted to early, throwing the ball. We were right in groove, and we were able to do some good things. Then we got behind and were pressing a little bit.''

So how did the Patriots slow Tebow (other than by the "our offense is our best defense" strategy)?:

ESPN's Merril Hoge pointed this out Monday: New England hit Tebow repeatedly and on Tebow's only fumble of the game, which came on an option play (he could either keep it or pitch it wide left to RB Lance Ball), DE Mark Anderson had one job: run straight at Tebow and don't worry about anything else. That singular focus put him in the backfield before Tebow could get any closer to the line of scrimmage. It limited not just his time to make a decision, but his options. Tebow should've kept the ball; instead Anderson knocked it lose. Expect the Bills and Chiefs to do this too.


                                                   Eye on Tebow



Quite possibly the best incompletion in tackle football history. (Getty Images)

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Posted on: December 12, 2011 1:40 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 1:56 pm
 

Tracking Tebow, Week 14: Transformation continues

We're Tracking Tebow … because it's impossible not to watch. 

By Ryan Wilson

Week 14 Tim Tebow looks nothing like the quarterback we saw in Miami on October 23. Let's be honest: when he made his first start against the Dolphins in Week 7, he was a curiosity, a sideshow that brought out the gawkers and the critics.

We joked about this after the Jets win. Maybe we should give the new Denver helmet serious consideration...
In the seven games since, Tebow and the Broncos are 6-1, and have gone from early season laughingstock to AFC West leaders destined for the playoffs. It isn't all because of Tebow (everyone -- o-line, defense, special teams, wideouts, coaches -- has picked up their game in the last two months) but he's done his part, too.

And after Denver's most recent come-from-behind win, this time against the Bears, it's clear that Tebow is evolving into a legitimate NFL passer as well. No, seriously. A proper quarterback, who reads defenses, manipulates coverages, and gets the ball out accurately and on time (see the play-by-play below for proof).

We were blown away by Tebow's performance against Chicago, and his numbers belie just how well he played. For starters, he threw the ball 40 times. The last time he approached that many attempts was in Week 8 against the Lions, a complete and absolute throttling in which Tebow looked confused and outclassed.

In the subsequent five games -- all wins -- the Broncos stressed the read-option running game and used the forward pass only in cases of emergency. Tebow's attempt totals over that span: 21, 8, 20, 18, and 15. His completion percentages: 48, 25, 45, 50, 67.

On Sunday, he set season highs for attempts and completions. The reason: the Bears weren't going to let Tebow beat them with his legs. But also because the Broncos coaching staff clearly is comfortable with Tebow's progress as a passer. In the previous weeks, he struggled from the pocket, both with going through his progressions and getting the ball out on time. Against Chicago, he was decisive and poised, and most importantly: accurate.

(Also noteworthy: even when Tebow misses intended targets badly, he seldom throws interceptions. That can't be overstated in a league where turnovers equals losing.)

Yes, he was just 3 of 16 for 45 yards (with an interception) in the first three quarters against Chicago, which is pretty much the script for Broncos' games the last seven weeks. But this time was different. Tebow was throwing with touch and anticipation, except that his would-be receivers couldn't hold onto to anything. Maybe it was karmic payback for all those medicine balls Tebow had thrown in prior games, or perhaps it was God's way of ratcheting up the drama for a fourth-quarter run that has now become a cliche.


Whatever the explanation, with the Broncos trailing by 10 points and with sufficient time having expired in the final quarter, Tebow got down to doing what Tebow does. He was 18 of 24 for 191 yards in the final period, including a nifty touchdown pass that shows just how far he's come as an NFL passer.

On this TD pass with just over two minutes to go in the 4th quarter and the Broncos trailing 10-0, Tebow drops back, looks left, then comes back right. He steps up in the pocket, looks as if he's going to run (and draws in the two defenders in pass coverage in the process) and then calmly throws to a wide-open Thomas in the back of the end zone. That's a big-boy play. (Watch the Xs and Os of the play here.)


                                                   Play by Play



(Note: Below are the plays -- both running and passing -- involving Tebow. You can view the entire play-by-play breakdown here)




                                                        Quotes



"He’s a good running back. He does a good job for them. They have a good offense with him back there. They do some different plays. I thought we did a good job overall." - Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, talking about Tebow who, by the way, was 21 of 40 for 236 yards and only rushed 12 times for 49 yards.

"He played hard. I respect a guy that plays hard, him and all the other 10 guys on that field for the Broncos." - Bears linebacker Lance Briggs

"It wasn't anything special that he did." - Bears defensive end Julius Peppers

"Everyone believes that something good's going to happen. And, obviously, Tim's been the guy that's led that thinking. He's just such a strong believer. He's really got everyone else believing if you stay strong, stay positive, something good's going to happen. When guys are thinking that way — and it's been led by Timmy with that positive attitude — all boats have been rising with that." - Broncos executive VP John Elway, former Tebow doubter.


                                                   Audio-Visual




Tim Tebow led another comeback victory, and Matt Prater's 51-yard field goal with 8:34 left in overtime gave the Denver Broncos a 13-10 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.


Tim Tebow led another comeback victory, and Matt Prater's 51-yard field goal with 8:34 left in overtime gave the Denver Broncos a 13-10 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

And if you want to experience two totally different post-game press conferences, here's John Fox and Lovie Smith A.T. (After Tebow, natch).


                                                   Eye on Tebow



(Click on photos to enlarge)


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Posted on: December 6, 2011 9:58 am
 

Tracking Tebow, Week 13: The Tebolution continues

We're Tracking Tebow … because it's impossible not to watch. 

By Ryan Wilson

When it comes to Tim Tebow, there's really not much left to say. As head coach John Fox pointed after the latest Broncos come-from-behind win, this time against the Vikings, "The guy knows how to win."

Two months ago, such remarks wouldn't have been much different from all the other post-victory-glow cliches we're usually beaten about the head with. But now, with Tebow 6-1 as Denver's starter, and the Broncos atop the AFC West, Fox speaks the truth. There is no logical explanation for the team's sudden turnaround let alone Tebow's success but after witnessing miracle after miracle most of us now take it on faith that some way, some how, the Broncos are going to win and Tebow will do his part. Ironic, we know.

Unlike previous weeks, Tebow matriculated the ball down the field with his arm, not his legs. He had just four rushes for 13 yards, something you might expect from a prototypical NFL quarterback, not a guy whose legend was built on his ability to tuck and run. Not against the Vikings, who seemed intent on keeping Tebow in the pocket and forcing him to put the ball in the air.


He did just that 15 times, completing 10 throws for 202 yards. Adjusted for conventional NFL QBs, that works out to about a 500-yard passing day. Tebow also threw two touchdowns and it was his fifth straight game without an interception.

We can chuckle all we want about Tim Tebow, glorified H-back, but the Chiefs and Bears would love to have him right now. Nothing he does on the football field is pretty but there's no denying that he's efficient. No one -- not even Tom Brady, former 199th pick who cries when he's reminded of his draft-day free fall -- gets more out of their abilities. Because, realistically, Tebow should be a blocking back. He should be playing on the coverage and return units. He should be on the roster bubble every preseason. And yet here he is, doing what he's done since high school: winning.

He's converted an entire country of doubters, and more importantly, he's convinced John Fox and John Elway. Now, with a month left in the regular season there's no reason to think that the Broncos won't win their division. That, folks, is the Power of Tebow (and the benefits of having an easy schedule relative to the Raiders).


                                                   Play by Play



(Note: Below are the plays -- both running and passing -- involving Tebow. You can view the entire play-by-play breakdown here)




                                                        Quotes



"I know that everyone wants to know, but our future is right now. When you look at where we are, the future is the Chicago Bears. We've got three out of four at home, and we're coming off five out of six wins, so we're excited to come home. - Broncos president John Elway, on his weekly radio show, answering a question about whether Tebow's performance means he's the team's long-term quarterback.

“Walking out of the tunnel yesterday (in Minnesota), somebody had farted. We’re walking down, this is right before the game starts, and [head coach John Fox] is like, ‘Man, somebody’s nervous.” - Broncos punter Dustin Colquitt offering an example of why Fox is a players' coach and always knows exactly what to say.

"There were a lot of questions on the outside (about Tebow). Sometimes it gets built up like they were on the inside, but the one thing I will say is the guy wins. He does it with his feet, he does it with his arm. He's young, he's just going to get better." - Head coach John Fox

"I've definitely seen that a couple times from No. 15. When I hear all those ESPN commentators say, 'He can't do this,' I laugh. After the game, I whispered in his ear, 'Let 'em keep hating. Keep 'em hating on you.'" - Vikings wide receiver and Tebow's former teammate at Florida, Percy Harvin


                                                   Audio-Visual




Tebow used to struggle with deep throws, even the wide open ones. That was a non-issue against the Vikings.


At this point, nothing surprises us with Tebow. He does it so often everybody expects it. Put differently: we're believers now!


Yes, Tebow is a beneficiary of a good defense, but he also plays better as the game progresses. 


                                                   Eye on Tebow




Tim Tebow at terminal velocity rips the helmets off unsuspecting opponents. 

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Posted on: November 29, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: November 29, 2011 12:00 pm
 

Tracking Tebow, Week 12: Iron sharpens iron

We're Tracking Tebow … because it's impossible not to watch. 

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Against the Chargers Sunday, Tim Tebow didn't complete his first pass until 3:54 in the second quarter. By the time the game was over -- nearly five quarters of football -- Tebow had attempted 18 passes, completing nine, for 143 yards and a touchdown. He rushed for 67 yards on 22 carries.

In addition to running his record to 5-1 as the Broncos starter this season, Tebow also accomplished another milestone: it was the first time in 2011 that he completed at least 50 percent of his throws. Still, our graphic from last week's Tebow Tracker holds: less passing + more running = greater likelihood of a Denver victory.

By this point, some five weeks into the Tebow era, the critics have been silenced. Back on October 23, when he replaced Kyle Orton as the starter, the thinking was that Tebow would be buried on the depth chart behind Brady Quinn by now. Instead, an outfit that began the season 1-4, is now 6-5 and one game out of the division lead, behind the 7-4 Raiders. More improbable scenarios are hard to fathom but the lesson, at least for now, is Tebow has redefined what it means to win ugly, which is certainly preferable to the alternative reality playing out with Orton under center: losing ugly.

We say "at least for now" because there's always the fear that, despite Tebow's knack for making those around him better, the read-option offense is always a week away from being exploited as a gimmick, 2011's version of the wildcat offense, a strategy with a short shelf-life that should have no bearing on personnel decisions behind the present.

We wrote about the phenomenon last week:

"Comparing the read-option to the wildcat has been a popular meme in recent weeks and there's something to it. The Dolphins began the 2008 season 0-2, busted out the wildcat in Week 3 against the Patriots, and blew them out of the water, 38-13. Miami finished the regular season 11-5 and made the playoffs. The following year, after teams around the league had an offseason to figure out the wildcat, it was obsolete. …

"Based on Broncos executive John Elway's recent comments, not only is the read-option a short-term solution to a problem he inherited from the unspectacular Josh McDaniels era, it's one that probably won't last behind this season. Which means that the rest of the NFL has six weeks or so to figure out a way to slow it down.

"The Jets did it for 55 minutes, but Tebow was able to drive 95 yards for the decisive score. The bigger story from that game: New York's inept offense, which included a national coming out part for Broncos rookie linebacker Von Miller, and more questions about Mark Sanchez's abilities as an NFL quarterback.

"So, no, Tebow isn't the long-term answer in Denver. But he's not supposed to be. The thing is, nobody thought he was the short-term answer, either. As it stands, he's winning 80 percent of his starts. And if the Chargers play Sunday like they have in the previous five games, Tebow's winning percentage will rise to 83."

Since writing that, we've talked in more detail about why exactly Tebowmania may not last beyond 2012. You can listen to the details on the latest Pick-6 Podcast.


The next five weeks of the regular season look like this for the Broncos: at Minnesota, Chicago, New England, at Buffalo, and Kansas City. Can Denver win out and go 11-5? Seems impossible, but is that any more unlikely than Tebow being 5-1? Clearly, we're dealing with forces beyond the football field.


                                                   Play by Play



(Note: Below are the plays -- both running and passing -- involving Tebow. You can view the entire play-by-play breakdown here)




                                                        Quotes



“I said a little prayer when I was down there. … I feel like our honor to Tim is the way we play and the way we support him. - Broncos rookie safety Quinton Carter on Tebowing at midfield after Matt Prater's game-winning kick.

"It's mistake-free football, it's playing great defense and running the ball on the offensive side and really making the plays when they need to be made. I think that's what's happening. - John Elway on Tebow's 9 for 18 performance Sunday.

"I've never seen a human who can will himself to win like that." - Broncos linebacker Von Miller on Tebow.

“We kept him in the pocket for the most part and he only had a couple of runs. On those runs, it was more the defense than what he was doing. But he made some plays. He’s a great football player.” - Chargers safety Eric Weddle.


                                                   Audio-Visual




Matt Prater kicked a 37-yard field goal with 29 seconds left in overtime to lift Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos to a 16-13 victory Sunday over the San Diego Chargers. CBS Sports' Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts have the recap.


Tim Tebow has won three straight games and is 4-1 since becoming the starter in Week 7. CBS Sports' Shannon Sharpe sat down with Tebow, head coach John Fox and Champ Bailey to discuss the Broncos turnaround as well as Tebow's future at QB.

Tebow didn't have many throws against the Chargers, but his second-quarter touchdown pass was both impressive (on his part) and embarrassing (on how the Chargers defense played it). The breakdown of exactly how Decker got so open is below, followed by the video of the play.

Tebow fakes a throw in the flat to Royal, which freezes the defender responsible for Decker (circled in red). Decker, blows past him, the safety is slow providing support (circled in yellow), leaving Tebow a big window to throw through. Nice pass, nice catch, horrible defense. 


Broncos QB Tim Tebow passes deep into the end zone to WR Eric Decker for an 18-yard touchdown, late in the second quarter.


                                                   Eye on Tebow



(Click photos to enlarge)


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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com