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: Oct 30, 2007
Posted on: January 9, 2012 9:24 am

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

After last nights game you have to say Tim Tebow > Ben Roethlisberger.

Since: Nov 7, 2010
Posted on: January 9, 2012 8:53 am

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

Detroit miss Best a lot..he was perfect for their system!!..not a workhorse but a very good 3down Rb..fantastic in the flat...
Atlanta has of the worst OL(but Blalock...) time for Ryan..need a huge upgrade..they can build a powerful line to run a lot with Turner and a new Rb(surely Turner need help..)and sometime go deep with JJones..or they can build a atlethic OL to pass a lot with a more quick Rb(using Turner as goal-line one)

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: January 9, 2012 5:59 am

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

could it happen again? finish the top sitted at home ? for a man born and bread in n.j. who road his bike thur the construction of giant statam in the early 70s and now lives in madison wi. when the g-men beat the pack it was more important then beating the pats in the super bowl! anyone who is an outside in wisonsin knows its not the packers i hate its the fans. we losed, we did not cover well , we did not run well. yea what time were you on the field? its not we! its them you are a fan of the team not on the team! at the end of the game its just a game itnot your live or at least it should not be. next monday after the g-men win deal better this tim

Since: Oct 18, 2006
Posted on: January 9, 2012 5:23 am

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

Do you realize what you are writing, or do you just make this stuff up?

#1 - Detroit's Eric Wright dropped an easy interception which he would've taken to the house.

Are you serious? Did you actually watch the play? WR Robert Meachem clearly knocks the ball out of Wright's hands. That was not a dropped pick-six, that was a head's up play by a crafty #4 wideout.

#2 - The Saints may have trouble winning on the road in the playoffs because two of their three losses came outside, and they only scored over 30 points twice in five games on grass.

Again... are you a Saints hater, or are you not convinced? It just seems a little shady. Here is a team that scored 20 or more points in every outdoor game this season (including two efforts of 30 or more), but because it isn't at the almost-unheard of rate achieved inside the Superdome, there could be a problem. All three of the Saints losses this year came away from the Dome... one on grass to the defending Super Bowl champions, one on grass to a division rival who seems to beat us once a year every year, and one inside a dome to St.Louis, the last loss the Saints suffered this season, the worst loss the Saints sufferered this season, and the only game lost by the Saints this year due to poor preparation and lack of game-time adjustments.

In case you didn't realize this, the Saints went 5-3 away from the Superdome. That's five wins. And 3-2 on the grass. That's a winning record, too. They've had sunny skies with light winds on those warm outdoor games this year, the coldest game vs the Titans at a temp of 40.

If the Saints don't pack thermals to Green Bay, shame on them.

Since: Dec 10, 2009
Posted on: January 9, 2012 4:14 am

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

All hail the mini-hoody Mcdaniels ! The forgotten one in the rebuild of the Broncos... Elway can come in and take the press and glory, but fans know what got the Broncos a decent team. Efficient drafts, and only took 2 of 'em. Demaryus, Von Miller, Tebow. Couple solid FA and bada boom... nice work Josh...

Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: January 9, 2012 3:19 am

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

you can rank tebow any way you want. a person can have all the negatives in the world. talk about the throwing motion, how how he cannot see the receivers, how he is too tentative. he won the game. end of story. pretty boy and mcego better plan their best game. it could be a long game for the pats.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: January 8, 2012 11:19 pm

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

You guys are just the best! And for the record, I'm pretty sure I've been on the Tebow bandwagon the entire time. (Though, admittedly, I didn't expect to see what we saw today.)


Since: Sep 25, 2009
Posted on: January 8, 2012 11:08 pm

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

Columnist like Will B are allowed to go from hater one week to proponent next.....  because we let them.  Go Broncos.
Eh he's an awful writer but that's CBS Sports. Sports journalism in general is pretty low level, the old joke is that none of these people could make it as an actual journalist. I think that goes double for Sportsline and then the bottom of the barrel even on sportsline guys like this one.

I just skim the really bad columns and just read the comments, like I'm doing here.

Casserly is usually good, Judge has been really solid this year (although he was really bad before this year, maybe his bosses threatened to fire him, and in that case they need to threaten to fire most of this staff to get them to shape up). Prisco is clueless but for the most part at least he understands how to write correctly.

Everyone else is really bad with varying levels of terrible. Most of the rest of them can't even write correctly. Doyel just trolls people so occasionally he does manage to get something decent out when he miscalculates what the trolling position is and accidentally uses solid information and reasoning rather than trying to annoy people.

Even with all that said, I mainly use this website for sports because the layout is good and they generally have useful information. ESPN charges money for most of their articles and they don't really put out as much content. Plus their layout blows.

Since: Nov 5, 2007
Posted on: January 8, 2012 10:45 pm

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

Do us all a favor and stop taking the wind out a "win" and call it without a big market slant.  If you guys are sick of hearing that, then stop it.  Dont' discount a turf team and make excuses for America's alleged favorites when they slip on some ice and get a booboo.  I can see the headlines, "Saints win 2nd Superbowl in 3 years aided by unnatural turf wins"!, or Saint's win because Brady had a nasty argument with Giselle the night before the big game.  America wants a rematch cause Brady was hurtin' man!  His mind wasn't right, ya know?
Turf, grass and ass, nobody wins for free.  Be journalists not propagandists for goodness sake.  We're guys that love football, not sissies with grass rashes.  A win is a victory, not an excuse for the loser.

Since: Aug 16, 2011
Posted on: January 8, 2012 10:42 pm

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Wild Card: Ranking Tebow

How do you feel about the Rams taking Trent Richardson with the #2 pick in the draft? Jackson could sure use some help with all the pounding he's been taking the last few years. Linemen and receivers can be picked in 2sd or 3rd roonds on.

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