Posted by Ryan Wilson
What started as a way to keep up with Tebow Mania through the preseason has now taken on a life of its own. That's right, Tim Tebow took the field in Week 5 against the Chargers, and not as an emergency wide receiver or wildcat specialist, but as a real live NFL quarterback. Broncos fans have been clamoring for this moment pretty much since the team drafted Tebow in April 2010 and now, thanks to hard work, perserverance, and some truly dreadful performances from incumbent Kyle Orton, the masses have gotten what they asked for.
What happens next? Who knows. Head coach John Fox isn't yet naming a starter, and once you get past the "Tebow played?!" hysteria, there is no obvious choice for the job. Orton is, in general, a better player. But he's been uninspiring this season and he'll be a free agent in January. The same issues that plagued Tebow when he came into the league -- the long delivery, the inadequate arm strength, the inability to read defenses -- were still present and accounted for against the Chargers.
But it's not like the Broncos' playoff hopes rest on this decision. Whoever ends up under center will be leading a team destined for another losing season. The only question is who would benefit most from the experience. Common sense says Tebow because he's younger, and the team's former top pick. The problem with that, though, is that Tebow has yet to prove he is, you know, a legit NFL quarterback. We suspect that, at this point, Broncos fans don't care. They just want change and Tebow is certainly that.
Whatever happens, we're just happy to reintroduce the Tebow Tracker, and idea originally born out of the football world's fascination with Tebow, even in games that didn't count. We figured that once the regular season began, the Tracker, like Tebow, would be shelved. Thankfully, Tebow is no quitter.
And neither are we. We'll chart every one of his regular-season snaps, the result, and what it all means going forward. Let's get to it.
First up: a play-by-play breakdown of Tebow's Week 5 performance against the Chargers Sunday.
|Week 5: San Diego Chargers|
|8:54 left in 3rd qtr||(Note: you can see the entire play-by-play log here.)|
|1st & 10, DEN 31||Tebow handoff to McGahee left guard to DEN 36 for 5 yards|
|2nd & 5, DEN 36||Tebow handoff to McGahee right guard to DEN 33 for -3 yards|
|3rd & 8, DEN 28||(From the shotgun) Tebow pass short right to E.Decker to DEN 33 for no gain||It's a short drop, Tebow looks left, his first option is covered, then looks right, throws the ball across the field for a play that had no chance of gaining two yards, much less eight. Upside: it was a completion. Downside: it went for no gain.|
|4th & 8, DEN 28||PUNT|
|3:56 left in 3rd qtr||1st & 10, DEN 7||Tebow handoff to McGahee right guard to DEN 10 for 3 yards|
|2nd & 7, DEN 10||(From the shotgun) Tebow pass incomplete deep left to B.Lloyd||3-step drop, Tebow eyes Lloyd running down the left sideline and throws to him in single-coverage. Lloyd almost comes down with the ball but was ruled out of bounds. Not a bad throw.|
|3rd & 7, DEN 10||(From the shotgun) Tebow pass incomplete deep middle to E.Decker||Short drop, can't find a receiver, scrambles left before launching a ball down the field just out of the reach of Decker near midfield. From the snap until the ball left his hand, seven seconds elapsed. In general, this is one of Tebow's problems.|
|4th & 7, DEN 10||PUNT|
|13:35 left in 4th qtr||1st & 10, DEN 20||Tebow pass incomplete short left to D.Rosario||Ugh. Play-action pass, Tebow short-hops Rosario on a sideline route that's 15 yards past the line of scrimmage. The ball travels 13 yards.|
|2nd & 10, DEN 20||(From the shotgun) McGahee up the middle to DEN 32 for 12 yards|
|1st & 10, DEN 32||(From the shotgun) McGahee up the middle to DEN 33 for 1 yard
|2nd & 9, DEN 33||(From the shotgun) Tebow scrambles up the middle to DEN 38 for 5 yards||Another play-action pass, Tebow pulls the ball down early and runs. As was the case during preseason, he seems antsy in the pocket.|
|3rd & 4, DEN 38||(From the shotgun) Tebow pass incomplete short left to M.Willis||Another example of Tebow holding the ball too long, disrupting the timing of the patterns, and eventually short-hopping his receiver.|
|4th & 4, DEN 38||PUNT|
|8:54 left in 4th qtr||1st & 10, DEN 49||McGahee left guard to SD 23 for 28 yards.|
|1st & 10, SD 23||Tebow scrambles left end pushed ob at SD 12 for 11 yards||Play-action, Tebow takes off early up the middle, breaks two tackles before getting to the sidelines. Nice run. In what would become a recurring theme, Tebow struggled with the snap when under center.|
|1st & 10, SD 12||Tebow up the middle to SD 12 for no gain||Another bobbled snap, Tebow was lucky to get back to the line of scrimmage.|
|2nd & 10, DEN 12||(From the shotgun) Tebow left guard for 12 yards, TOUCHDOWN||We've seen this play hundreds of times when Tebow was in college and yet the Chargers seemed completey surprised.|
|4:38 left in the 4th qtr||1st & 10, SD 41||(From the shotgun) Tebow right tackle to SD 33 for 8 yards||Hey, if the Chargers couldn't stop it on the TD run, try it again, this time to the right. It workd. Again.|
|2nd & 2, SD 33||Tebow handoff to McGahee up the middle to SD 28 for 5 yards|
|1st & 10, SD 28||(From the shotgun) Tebow pass short right to K.Moreno for 28 yards, TOUCHDOWN||Tebow takes a five-step drop, turns right and throws the ball five yards in the air. Moreno does the rest.|
|2-pt. conversion||(From the shotgun) Tebow pass to B.Lloyd is incomplete, conversion fails.||SD finally plays the QB sneak, Tebow takes a few steps to his left and throws a nice pass to the back corner of the end zone but Lloyd is well-defended.|
|0:24 left in the 4th qtr||1st & 10, DEN 20||(From the shotgun) Tebow pass incomplete deep right to B.Lloyd. Play Challenged by Replay Assistant and REVERSED. (Shotgun) Tebow pass deep right to B.Lloyd ran ob at DEN 40 for 20 yards||Easily Tebow's best completion of the day even if it required a great effort from Lloyd. Tebow stood tall in the pocket, delivered the ball between two defenders, and it ended up being a 20-yard gain.|
|1st & 10, DEN 40||(From the shotgun) Tebow pass to D.Fells to SD 29 for 31 yards||With SD in their prevent, Tebow holds the ball for five seconds before finding Fells in the middle of the field with two seconds to go (after the Broncos rush to the line and Tebow spikes the ball for one more play...)|
|2nd & 10, SD 29||(From the shotgun) Tebow pass incomplete deep right to M.Willis||Pretty sure this wasn't how the Broncos drew the play up. Tebow takes scrambling to a new level (see graphic below) before throwing the ball into the back of the end zone for an incompletion (though we wouldn't have been shocked if Willis came down with the ball).|
|GAME OVER, SD 29 DEN 24|
Here's the route Tebow took on the last play of the game. It speaks for itself.
And for completeness, the moving-pictures proof of the same play.
Here's the CBS recap.
Philip Rivers overcame an interception and a fourth-quarter fumble to lead the San Diego Chargers to a 29-24 win over the Denver Broncos. CBS Sports' Marv Albert and Rich Gannon have the recap.
(click images to enlarge)
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