Blog Entry

Tracking Tebow: wild, wild, wild-card weekend

Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:00 am
Edited on: January 10, 2012 10:01 am
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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Since: Dec 13, 2011
Posted on: January 11, 2012 1:56 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Nov 10, 2006
Posted on: January 10, 2012 11:41 pm

Tracking Tebow: wild, wild, wild-card weekend

Good article, except you are wrong if you thought his family, friends, and followers didn't think he could do it.  I have lived in Jacksonville long enough to see his legend start in high school and go on to the University of Florida where he won the Heisman and 2 National Championships.  I am not a huge fan of college football, I like the NFL better, but I turned the television on each week to watch this kid with the heart of a lion and the charisma of a rock star.

I agree, I bet Elway was ready to replace him in 2012 as the starter because of the 3 game losing streak.  But the offensive game plan had tied him down.  It was run, run, and third and long most of the time.  That does a lot for your confidence.  Everyone knew when the pass was going to come, third and long and when the Broncos were falling behind.  It doesn't take much of a genius to defense that.  This wasn't how he played the game at Florida.

The Broncos need to let him play his game.  I remember the same thing happened to Doug Flutie, who most of you never saw play.  Another person with the heart of a lion and a lot of charisma, and a Heisman Trophy winner.  The NFL would not let him play his game and ran him off to Canada, where he won the MVP award six consecutive years, because the didn't tie his hands behind his back and play the traditional conventional way.

It is a lot of crap and excuse after excuse about Pittsburgh having injuries.  Every team has them this time of the year.  Many starters were on IR by the 6th week of the season.  What about that thug Harrison and his cheap shot taking out Decker, who led the Broncos in receiving the entire year?  Tebow won his Super Bowl Sunday and in dramatic fashion.  He clearly dominated the Steelers defense, despite the play calling on every first down, run McGahee up the middle for little or no gain.  Thank GOD, the OC finally called a pass on first down in the OT.  I was criticizing that the entire game.  Now Elway has to shut up and move over, he has to share the city of Denver with all the Tebow believers.

Since: Feb 20, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:16 pm

Tracking Tebow: wild, wild, wild-card weekend

The elephant in the room in this article is that Tebow did this to an extremely injury-depleted team. 6 starters out, and two others in Roethlisberger and Woodley whose injuries have made them a shell of themselves. It makes a nice story for tebow, but let's face it -- it took them overtime to beat a team with close to half of their starting 22 out or useless. The Steelers only had 3 defensive linemen period in the game. If they had won, this week they say Pouncey, Starks, Legursky and Keamotu, all on their offensive line, would not play! Cmon. The Steelers were SECRETARIAT with two broken legs and needed put out of their misery! 

Since: Dec 14, 2008
Posted on: January 10, 2012 9:12 pm

Tracking Tebow: wild, wild, wild-card weekend

lets rmbr Brian Dawkins was out.  i pray he is ready in time to the NE game, cuz he is the real QB of the DEF. if he is there we have a shot. if not we will need another step forward from Timmy.


diehard broncos fan

Since: Nov 27, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2012 7:43 pm

Tracking Tebow: wild, wild, wild-card weekend

First off, I want to make it clear that I'm happy and amazed at how this game went.  The drastically different play-calling made a HUGE difference, and I'm very happy to see some trust placed in Tebow before the end of the game where it's do-or-die (making it obvious there will be a lot of passing and therefore dangerous to run a lot of passing plays).  Also, Tebow had several plays where he stood his ground in the pocket rather than scrambling out, and when he did scramble, he did so effectively.  It was very good, too, that he threw the ball away a couple times rather than running back and getting sacked or tossing a risky ball.  The O-line was fantastic, giving him forever to throw the ball on a few key plays (like the game-ender... an 11 second passing play) and that was key.

With that said, I still have some concerns.  There were a couple balls pretty far off-target, and I'd like to see that improve over the off-season (I expect it will).  There were also a couple of balls that were catchable but hit the turf instead, and I'd like to see that fixed as well; it has happened too darn much this season, and if we want to be a legit playoff-caliber team we need to play consistently like one on both ends of the passing game.  Lastly, and this has nothing at all to do with Tebow... we need to work on fundamentals of tackling.  C'mon guys, wrap wrap wrap and you won't have to look at the backs of opponents trucking downfield for an extra couple yards and a first down so often.

Since: Jan 10, 2012
Posted on: January 10, 2012 7:09 pm

Tracking Tebow: wild, wild, wild-card weekend

Did you watch the game? The Steelers were lucky it went into OT. Had the refs not botched the backward pass, Denver would have been within scoring range while they still had possession. The game would have gone from 14 up to 17 or (more likely) 21 right there. Instead, Steelers keep the ball and the drive closes the Bronco's lead to 7.

On Denver's last scoring drive of the game, there was a dumb offensive pass interference negating a first and goal at the three, followed immediately by a terrible no-call on a face mask, so that's another 4 points right there.

Not saying the Broncos will win on Saturday, but they more than deserved to win that game. That should have been a blow out.

Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: January 10, 2012 5:22 pm

Tracking Tebow: wild, wild, wild-card weekend

Tebow was up 14 at the half and still needed overtime to beat the Steelers.  The Patriots will put an end to this fairy tale.

Since: Oct 26, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2012 5:12 pm

Tracking Tebow: wild, wild, wild-card weekend

Too bad the media can't figure out that the Denver Tebows didn't win the game.  The Broncos won it.  Fire the media and Tebow slowly becomes the nothing that he is.

Since: Dec 13, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2012 4:01 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Nov 18, 2008
Posted on: January 10, 2012 2:30 pm

Tracking Tebow: wild, wild, wild-card weekend

People tend to forget that Demaryious Thomas played at GA Tech and caught passes from, well, let's just say, not very accurate QB's his entire career. This is why is he is the PERFECT receiver for Tim Tebow; he is used to adjusting to passes that are off target and not quite perfect spirals; he's used to running unconventional pass patterns (faking run blocking for the triple/spread option), including when the QB scrambles, and he doesn't mind blocking as he did it regularly in college, and with his size, he's quite good at it.

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