Blog Entry

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

Posted on: January 8, 2012 8:51 pm
Edited on: January 8, 2012 10:12 pm
Posted by Will Brinson

Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action, figures out the winners and losers and asks the big questions. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Listen to the Pick-Six Podcast Wild-Card Weekend recap below and don't forget to
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Ranking the Remaining QBs

Are you ----ing kidding me? Did that just happen? That, of course, is Tim Tebow hitting Demaryius Thomas for an 80-yard, walk-off touchdown in the first-ever game featuring the new NFL overtime rules to push Denver past Pittsburgh and into the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

The lesson, as always? You're gonna want to have someone who can sling the rock when the playoffs roll around and Tebow somehow morphed into that in the first round of the playoffs against one of the all-time great defenses. But where does he rank with the rest of the quarterbacks remaining in the playoffs?

8. T.J. Yates, Houston Texans
With all due respect to the only former UNC quarterback to win a playoff game, he just doesn't stack up with the rest of the folks in the playoffs. That being said, he's a perfect fit for the zone-stretch offense that the Texans run, and as long as he doesn't have to do too much, he's fine. He's probably gonna have to do too much against the Ravens this week.

7. Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers
Smith's been incredibly improved in 2011 so it's not like this is taking a potshot at him. Smith had his best season -- by far -- of his career, throwing just five picks and completing 61.3 percent of his passes. But you're telling me you're taking Smith if you need to win a game? No, no you're not.

6. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
Flacco's had great moments this year, but his inconsistency is absolutely terrifying. Seven times (seven!) he's gone under 200 yards passing on the season, and many times this year the Ravens have been forced to overcome his poor play. Some of those times, they just don't lean on Flacco because they have a beasty run game and a really good defense. But that's not exactly helping his cause, you know?

5. Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos
COME ON DOWN THE OLD KOOL-AID FILLED RABBIT HOLE! But, no, seriously. Tebow made throws on Sunday night that he's not supposed to make. And he did it against a defense that doesn't let most quarterbacks make throws like that, much less a would-be remedial QB like Tebow. But he brings a running game, he brings an improved passing game, he brings along the worst wide receiver corps (by far) of anyone in the playoffs and he brings along the dreaded intangibles.

4. Eli Manning, New York Giants
Eli's a top-five quarterback in the NFL this season, and he's got a legitimate case to be right there in Tom Brady's class (just like he said before the season!). When it comes down to it, though, you're not taking him for a playoff stretch run over any of the rest of the guys on the list. At least not yet anyway ... (But yes, there's a HUGE gap between 1-4 and 5-8.)

3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
People keep saying that Brady does the most with the least but that argument's kind of ridiculous when Rob Gronkowski just wrapped up the greatest season by a tight end in the history of the NFL. Three here, by the way, is like "1c."

2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
The third quarterback in NFL history to throw for 450 yards in a playoff game.

1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Last I checked he's still the defending champion. Plus, he's got the mobility that no one else on this list (even Tebow) has, he's the most accurate quarterback on the run and he's working on a week's rest in addition to two weeks of hearing everyone talk about how he's not the best quarterback left in the playoffs.


Josh McDaniels: Not only is the former Broncos head coach and Patriots offensive coordinator now back with the Patriots but he's going to play against Tim Tebow next week. This is a good thing because McDaniels basically got fired for drafting Tebow. I mean, not entirely but it didn't help things. Doesn't everyone look kind of silly for not trusting him now.

T.J. Yates:
Yates was the rookie who was going to screw things up for his team, but instead he played the perfect foil to Andy Dalton's inconsistency, going 11 of 20 for 159 yards and a touchdown. Those aren't mind-blowing numbers, and 40 of the yards came on one touchdown pass to Andre Johnson, but Yates did exactly what he was supposed to do, which is "don't screw things up."

Overtime Rules: It -- literally -- took Ron Winter longer to explain the new overtime rules than it took the Broncos to end the overtime. One play to DeMaryius Thomas and that's it. Which is good for the NFL because a longer, more prolonged overtime opened up the possibility for mistakes by refs and scrutiny by media and fans. Instead now we think it works perfectly!

Pierre Thomas: Dude was kiliing it on Saturday and might be the biggest reason New Orleans won. He "only" scored once and but he put up 121 total yards and he fought for every freaking one of them; there's a reasonable chance 115 of them were after contact. Thomas' refusal to go down to the turf resulted in a lot of Saints drives getting extended a lot further than they should have, and he deserves props for his effort.

Cleveland Browns: When the Falcons were eliminated, the Browns locked up better draft picks in 2012, thanks to the Julio Jones trade. (They'll now pick a lot earlier, no worse than 23rd, in the first and fourth rounds.) Tom Heckhart also looks a little bit smarter today -- even if Julio Jones is special (he is) and even if the Falcons will eventually be more explosive (they should), that deal didn't work out the way the Falcons and Thomas Dimitroff thought it would. Yeah, they made the playoffs, but it was as a wild card and they didn't score a single point on Sunday.

Smith would like you to re-spot that ball, sir. (AP)


Mike Smith: Twice on Sunday, Smith had a controversial fourth-down decision to make. OK, the decisions weren't really that controversial, but the playcalls -- and the result -- were. Each time, once with Michael Turner on the freaking sideline, the Falcons snuck Ryan against a stout Giants defensive line, and each time, he was stuffed. Those decisions don't change the outcome of the game, per se, because the Giants still outscored Atlanta by more than six points, but Smith's going to answer a lot of questions about his decision-making.

Chris Crocker
: Crocker's a friend of the blog, so we don't want to rip him too hard, but that was a pretty terrible game from the Bengals safety. He dropped a crucial would-be pick-six at the start of the second half, he missed a sack of Yates, and his incredibly poor "tackling" on Arian Foster's 42-yard touchdown run is going to be replayed all week long. Not a good day for Crocker.

Lions Defense: It's not rare for a defense to get surgically dissected by Drew Brees. But the Lions have to be shaking their heads at missing a good chance at up-ending the Saints on Saturday because their defense couldn't get any penetration on Brees, couldn't make any stops on fourth downs, didn't make the Saints punt a single time and generally looked lost in coverage. They also dropped a pair of easy interceptions, one of which Eric Wright should've taken to the house.

Mike Mularkey: After a great season from the Falcons and a strong finish to the year, Mularkey's been a hot name as a coaching candidate and has a slew of interviews lined up. But the people looking to hire him for a full-time job are going to wonder about the incredibly conservative gameplan Mularkey dragged into the Meadowlands on Sunday, and how he managed to get outscored by Eli Manning 2-0. And then there's the short-yardage stuff (see: Mike Smith above). Smith's saying "go" but Mularkey's the guy dialing up the plays, and it might behoove teams to put him through a "Fourth-and-Short Playcalling Quiz" before giving him the gig.

John Elway: At halftime against Pittsburgh, Tim Tebow had thrown for 185 yards (all in the second quarter) and tied two of Elway's playoff records with the Broncos: he and Elway are the only Broncos quarterbacks with a) two 50-yard passes in the same game and b) a rushing and passing score in the same game. Oh and then he walked off the Steelers in overtime with an 80-yards pass. Please tell me how he's not going to bring Tebow back in 2012.

The Big Questions

Marvin needs to challenge his challenges. (AP)

1. What was Marvin Lewis thinking on those challenges?
He wasn't. The Bengals didn't lose because Lewis bungled a pair of first-half challenges, but that shouldn't excuse him for the actual bungling. Lewis gave away two timeouts and any chance of challenging in the second half by deciding that the Bengals (4/4 on short-yardage conversions against the Texans in Week 13) needed to challenge a bad spot on a second down and two that only went for one yard. Then he compounded it by challenging a catch in the second quarter, which allowed him to enter halftime with a deficit and no challenges.

2. Can the Saints win on the road?
Of course they can. But will they? The Saints are 0-4 in franchise history away from the Superdome when it comes to the playoffs and that's an applicable lesson for this year's team, who only played five games outside of a dome the entire year.

That's right: just five games. Now, the Saints know this. They talked about it with our own Pete Prisco after their win over Detroit on Saturday. The Saints are guaranteed nine games inside a year, because of eight home matchups and a game at division rival Atlanta. Here's what happened when they did venture away from the comfort of turf:

Week/Location Result Points Scored Passing Yards TD/INT Total Yards
Week 1 @ Green Bay L 34 419 3/0 477
Week 4 @ Jacksonville W 23 351 1/2 503
Week 5 @ Carolina W 30 359 2/1 444
Week 6 @ Tampa Bay L 20 383 1/3 453
Week 14 @ Tennessee W 22 337 2/0 437
Weekly Average N/A 34.2 334.2 2.9/0.9 467.1

Two of the Saints three losses this season came outside on the road, and they only went above 30 points twice on the road, despite averaging 34.2 points per game this season.

To paraphrase our Vice President, that's a big freaking deal.

3. Do Matt Ryan's playoff losses make him a bad quarterback?
No. But Ryan's the guy who'll be heavily judged over the next year with respect to his postseason performance, since he's now 0-3 in the playoffs. In those three games, Ryan's 70 of 110 for 584 passing yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions. He's definitely the victim of a) conservative gameplans and b) playing against good teams (the NFC Champion Cardinals, the Super Bowl Champion Packers and this year's Giants), but that isn't going to stop people from discussing the fact that his stats stink in the playoffs and he can't win. It's the same thing people said about Aaron Rodgers before last year.

4. Can the Giants really win the Super Bowl?
Damn right they can. The "shades of 2007" storyline is a bit played out at this point ... but it's just kind of true. They're a wild card that everyone counted out, Eli Manning's hitting his stride at the absolutely perfect time, they've got a running game that's shaping back up and their pass rush is absolutely deadly. This is the kind of the same team, just with different players. (San Fran up-ending the Saints and keeping the Giants away from the Superdome would help a lot, too.)

5. Did you really rank Tim Tebow FIFTH on the remaining quarterbacks list?
Yes. Let's just move on before I emerge from my overtime-induced blackout.

6. How bright is the future for the Lions?
Very bright. They'll obviously want to lock down Calvin Johnson at some point, and they need to get some secondary help this coming offseason, and getting Mikel Leshoure back to provide a power running game is critical. But Matthew Stafford's primed to be the next quarterback who warrants a debate for "elite" status, in case the 5,000+ yards he tossed in 2011 didn't clue you into that. 

7. Why did the Saints draft Mark Ingram?
Not sure. But it at least seemed like a good idea the time, right? Ingram was supposed to be the power runner for the Saints, but in his first season he averaged just 3.9 yards per carry and scored only five touchdowns. He's not playing now and Chris Ivory's performance on Saturday night really leads me to believe New Orleans could've gotten better value at a different position in April's draft.

8. Could Kevin Kolb land another big contract?

Possibly! Doing so would mean that Kolb would lose his first big contract though: Charley Casserly reported on Sunday that the Cardinals are a sleeper candidate for Peyton Manning if the Colts let him go. To make that happen, they'd obviously have to bail on Kolb's contract, which they can reportedly do at a fairly cheap cost. The timing is the issue though, since Kolb's roster bonus is due in March as well. But if it happens, Kolb could instantly become the third- or fourth-best quarterback available on the market, along with Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Matt Flynn. It's a longshot, but an interesting situation to watch nonetheless.

9. Does Tebow deserve all the credit for the Broncos win?

As usual, no. Tebow gets a ton of credit because he does some amazing things late in games, but let's be clear: the Steelers played pretty freaking badly on Sunday night. Their pass defense was AWFUL and they ran Ben Roethlisberger out on a bad ankle and looked anemic early on on offense. The Broncos defense deserves some credit too, of course, because they played a nice game. And so do Tebow's wide receivers. Just figure out a way to spread it around.



Worth 1,000 Words

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Since: Aug 28, 2008
Posted on: January 11, 2012 8:46 am

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

the man can win because his team believes in him, and the big fella! 

Since: Sep 30, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2012 1:42 pm

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

Well said vadergader, I am a Gator alum and have followed Tim since high school. The kid can hit a golfball and a baseball a mile, basketball? Forget it. He is the real deal and Fox needs to wake up and tune the offense to Tebow's abilities, 316 yards on just 10 passes, running into an 8 man front 23 out of 24 times should tell you something. Sunday showed the Bronco's poor perfomances are coaching problems not Tim's abilities. If they play same old same old against the Pariots it's over but then Belicheck now nows Tim can pass on first down so maybe the run works a little better.

Since: Sep 30, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2012 1:32 pm

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

Yeah right, Tebow does it with a moron coach who runs 23 times out of 24 plays into an 8 man box and let's the kid throw only on 3rd down  when the world expects it or when he has to. At least fox discovered this week he has tight ends and the slant pattern, what does he discover next the screen pass or quick hitter for 6 0r 7 yards down the middle on first down? The Broncs will lose this weekend unless Fox wakes up and let's the kid alone but I bet he will be the same old same old.

Since: Sep 30, 2011
Posted on: January 9, 2012 12:37 pm

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

Bearish1, you are on the money with protecting free speech, but use spell check first.  You are addressing free speech, yet you spell it "speach" on more than one occassion.  It is okay to make a mistake, it happens to us all, but at least read your own post just before hitting the post button to make sure it is a error free as you can make it.

Since: Sep 30, 2011
Posted on: January 9, 2012 12:33 pm

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

I'm sorry, did somebody just say that Flacco is waaaay better than Tebow and gets no credit?  Flacco gets paraded about at the start of every season and every sports writer says "this is the year Flacco does it".  Four years in the guy still hasn't done it.  Yes he has thrown 80 TD's and has a career QB rating of 86; but he also has 46 INT's and 28 lost fumbles.  Flacco is exceptionally average, nothing more.  In Tebow's first year as a starter he has 12 TD's, 6 INT's and a passer rating of 75.......Flacco's first year as a starter he had 14 TD's, 12 INT's and a passer rating of 80.
I would rate Tebow ahead of Flacco this year too in the list of remaining QB's, why?  Tebow has the intangible qualities that there are not stats for.  He brings a sense of passion, he is completely self-less and without a doubt has 100% trust from all of his team mates.

Since: Jul 27, 2010
Posted on: January 9, 2012 12:30 pm

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

you have multiple so called experts working for CBS but the goofball announcer covering the Broncos/Steelers game said Denver's receiver DeMaryius Thomas was from UCF instead of Ga Tech and never did correct himself.  Do you not have any producers they could have told the idiot to get it right?  It was just the biggest play of the game when "Bay Bay" made the OT winning touchdown, that is pitiful.

I can just imagine if that announcer said Tebow was from Fl State or Alabama without a retraction.  

Since: Oct 30, 2008
Posted on: January 9, 2012 12:19 pm

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

Ravens fans just jealous that Tebow is getting more press.  Too freaking bad.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: January 9, 2012 12:11 pm

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

Your first point mayhave a little merit. Sure, it was a good heads up play by Meachem. But Wright still could have made that play go for 6.
Your second point on the other hand is grossly clouded by your devotion to the Saints. Or maybe your dislike of this writers (Will Brinson) take. WHat he is saying is the Saints just aren't as good away from home. He didn't say they are bad. You brought up all their stats from the away games to prove...??? The writer knows those numbers and were the foundation for his point. He's probably thanking you for proving it. The Saints are a dome team. A good dome team. On grass outside however, they become much less threatening. If they want to win at Lambeau next week, they better set the Superdome thermostat to 10 degrees all week. The bayou is a long long way from the Frozen Tundra in January.
wpizzapizza and PearlsOfWisdom... just stop. You've given me a headache and made this Monday just a little more difficult than necessary. Log out and stop posting. Forever.

Since: Apr 1, 2010
Posted on: January 9, 2012 12:02 pm

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

The writers here at CBSSports are seriously lacking, It's an insult to Joe Flacco that he still gets no credit, how is Tim Tebow ranked above him? What a joke, the guy is mediocre at best....for the majority of his career he has struggled to complete passes. As Brian Urlacher said he's a pretty good fullback/rb...Joe Flacco JUST WINS and is way more consistent but he gets bashed. Tebow plays good for a handful of snaps and is praised and loved, on ESPN he runs that network now. ITS A JOKE AND ITS DISGUSTING, good reporting is dead and BIAS gets in the way of FACTS 

Since: Dec 11, 2009
Posted on: January 9, 2012 11:56 am

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

Geez Will,

Did you miss IKE TAYLOR when you were filling out the LOSER section??  You know, the guy that gave up 90% of the big passes(and I use that term loosely) to Denver??  William Gay got burned for a TD, but he is horrible and that is to be expected.  But Ike, a Pro Bowl player, to get burned by a guy who can't throw, should be forced to turn over bank statements.  Only way to prove this FRAUD losed didn't throw the game.  In fact, that is the worst performance this weekend, perhaps overshadowing Matty 'Farce'.

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