Posted by Ryan Wilson
When we started Tracking Tebow back in August, we'd figure it would be something to pass the time during the preseason, before Tim Tebow took his place on the bench next to BradyQuinn and behind Kyle Orton. We made this leap based on head coach John Fox saying that Orton was his starter and Tebow wasn't ready.
Five weeks later and everything changed. Actually, all that seemed to change is that Fox caved to public pressure to give Tebow a shot. Admittedly, Orton had been awful, and Denver had nothing to lose by throwing Tebow out there, but it still made Fox look indecisive and out of sorts, not exactly attributes you want in a coach, much less one in his first year in the job.
But there's also this: Fox inherited this roster from Josh McDaniels, who so mismanaged the Broncos' personnel situation that it could set them back for years. Of all McDaniels' decisions, the worst may have been shipping Jay Cutler to Chicago for Orton and picks, and then trading up in the 2010 draft to take Tebow (honorable mention: trading Peyton Hillis for Brady Quinn). Fox has three quarterbacks on the roster, none that he likes, and with the season already lost, he's going to see what he's got (though we suspect he already knows).
Clearly, Orton has shown that he can be a competent NFL quarterback, but his contract is up after season. After he stumbled through the first month of the season, Fox gave Tebow an opportunity on the off chance that Tebow might redefine what it means to win ugly. The finishes against the Chargers and the Dolphins only exacerbated Tebow Mania. But against the Lions Sunday, Tebow, as the Denver Post described him afterward, looked like "the worst quarterback" in the league. That may not be what you want to hear if you're the Broncos ... but it's not far from the truth, either.
Does Tebow deserve all the criticism coming his way? No, of course not. Just like he didn't deserve the over-the-top praise he got after the Dolphins' win. But here's the thing: like it or not, he's the face of the Broncos, at least for now. Part of the deal when you become an NFL starting quarterback is that the media scrutiny can be intense. The payoff: do well, lead your team to the playoffs, and everybody loves you. The downside: pretty much what Tebow is going through now.
We watched every snap Tebow took Sunday and while the opponents change, the results remain the same. Namely: Tebow continues to struggle with identifying coverages, going through his progressions, and getting the ball out of his hands on time. Couple that with average arm strength, poor mechanics and inaccuracy issues, and you get a lot of bad football. His line against Detroit: 18 of 39 for 172 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, and 10 rushes for 63 yards. Denver lost, 45-10, and it was somehow more of a blowout than the final indicates.
In a week, we've gone from "Tebow: the Winner!" to "Tebow: What the What?!" Who knows how this story ends, but there will be plenty of time for that. For now, here's a play-by-play look at Tebow's performance against the Lions.
Play by Play
(Note: You can view the play-by-play breakdown spreadsheet here)
“Can you believe No. 15 (Tebow)? Come on – that’s embarrassing. I mean, it’s a joke. We knew all week that if we brought any kind of defensive pressure, he couldn’t do anything. In the second half it got boring out there. We were like, ‘Come on – that’s your quarterback? Seriously?’” - Anonymous Lions defender to Yahoo.com's Michael Silver
"It's too early to say. I haven't even had a shower yet, let alone looked at that tape. But we'll look at it and make changes where we see they are needed. We've definitely got to get better." - Coach John Fox when asked if Tebow would remain Denver's starting QB
"I think there are a few things (Tebow) can get better (at). The majority you can't correct. We've documented his accuracy, his elongated motion. … And watching last week's tape, the thing that was most disturbing was his ability to not understand where the ball has to go. His (lack of) awareness is mind-boggling to me. … The accuracy, that's not going to change. When you have the pocket, and you have the ability to get rid of the football, but you're unaware of where the ball's going to go, that disturbs me more (than the other issues)." - ESPN analyst and Tebow critic, Merril Hoge
"I like Tebow but that was pathetic. That wasn't a resemblance of an NFL quarterback. It's not all on him -- no running game, no blocking, no nothing (but) Detroit's defense isn't that darn good to put up numbers like that. That was crazy." - NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders.
Here's a sullen Tebow after the game:
The Detroit Lions (6-2) sacked Tim Tebow seven times and turned his two turnovers into touchdowns as they snapped a two-game skid with a 45-10 victory over the Denver Broncos.
A week ago Tebowing was cute (Tim was for it!). Now … not so much:
Tebow gets Tebow'ned by Lions LB Stephen Tulloch.
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