|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)
"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
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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