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Tag:Denver Broncos
Posted on: January 11, 2012 2:40 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 9:40 pm
 

Film Room: Patriots vs Broncos divisional preview

Will Gronk get his Gronk on this time around? (Getty Images)
Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

It was assumed the Patriots would draw a rematch in their divisional round playoff opener. However, most figured that rematch would be of their Week 8 bout with Pittsburgh, not their Week 15 bout with Denver.

Here’s the breakdown of what could turn out to be the highest-rated divisional round Saturday night game of all-time.


1. New England’s plan for Tebow
Something to keep in mind is the Steelers had a sound gameplan last week, playing man coverage and using a tepid pass-rush to ensure that Tim Tebow stayed in the pocket. What the Steelers didn’t count on was Demaryius Thomas being able to get by Ike Taylor and Tebow being able to pull the trigger on downfield throws. Those two young ’10 first-rounders both had career days.

The Patriots might bet that the two youngsters can’t do it again.

On the one hand, that’s a smart bet given that Thomas and Tebow were inconsistent all season (Tebow especially). On the other hand, it’s foolish given that cornerback Kyle Arrington – who would draw the Thomas matchup, as Thomas almost always lines up on the favorable side of the left-handed Tebow – is not half the cover artist Ike Taylor is, and given that logic says if Tebow can win against the man coverage of the league’s best pass defense, he can surely win against the man coverage of the league’s worst pass defense.

In the last meeting, the Patriots played predominant Cover 3 in the first half:

The Broncos had success throwing skinny posts to Tebow’s left against the Patriots Cover 3 defense in the last meeting. Cover 3 is what you’d guess it is: three defensive backs each responsible for a third of the field. Because there is so much field to cover, the outside defensive backs often play man-to-man concepts (as Devin McCourty is doing on the right side). Cover 3 is something defenses play when they blitz or when they want to force a quarterback to throw (it’s the default zone coverage behind an eight-defender box).

In this example, the Patriots were clearly baiting Tebow to throw. Notice there are only five rushers (which is hardly a blitz considering Denver has seven guys in pass protection – the idea was to keep Tebow from scrambling). Also notice how linebacker Dane Fletcher has his back to the quarterback and is running towards the left passing window. (Fletcher was late getting there; Tebow did a good job recognizing the coverage and getting the ball out quickly. The result was a 22-yard completion to Eric Decker.)

The Broncos used great routes for beating this anticipated coverage, but Tebow was unable to connect on some of the throws.

Still, throws against Cover 3 are easier than throws against quality press-man, as long as the pass protection holds up. Denver’s protection was tremendous last week.

If tackles Ryan Clady and Orlando Franklin (who may need some help on the right side) can keep speed-rusher Mark Anderson at bay, the Broncos will be golden. (Keeping a backup like Anderson at bay may not sound difficult, but the former Bear was actually very disruptive in the last meeting.)

2. Stop the run!
The Patriots gave up 167 yards rushing in the first quarter of the Week 15 contest. They wound up winning the game handily, but they were on the fortuitous side of a few fumbles.

Common sense says you can’t bank on having success with such porous run defense. The issue last game was outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich’s inability to set the edge and the defensive line’s inability to prevent the Bronco linemen from contacting inside linebackers. This was a problem both with New England’s 3-4 and 4-3 fronts.

Nose tackle Vince Wilfork must stand out more this time around. The Broncos will be willing at times to block him one-on-one with J.D. Walton. The second-year center has been up-and-down (in a good way) handling tough solo assignments against nose tackles down the stretch this season. He was phenomenal against Antonio Garay of the Chargers in Week 12 but had been just so-so the previous week against Sione Pouha of the Jets. In Week 15 he held his own against Wilfork, but in Week 16 he got schooled by Marcell Dareus.
 
If Walton has a strong game, the Broncos can pound the rock inside. If he struggles, Denver’s at least capable of getting to the perimeter, though they’ll miss the fervid blocking of wideout Eric Decker.

3. Defending the Patriots tight ends
Greg Cosell, executive producer of the NFL Matchup Show, did an excellent job breaking down the Week 15 film back in December. Cosell wrote that the Broncos focused their coverages on Rob Gronkowski, successfully disrupting his timing by hitting him at the line of scrimmage.

However, that left fourth-round rookie safety Quinton Carter on Aaron Hernandez. Carter, like the rest of Denver’s safeties, is not great in man coverage, which Hernandez proved by posting what were at the time his career highs in catches (nine) and yards (129).

Though still a little green as a route runner (particularly against zone), Hernandez has the movement skills of a wide receiver. The Broncos may choose to defend him with rising rookie nickel back Chris Harris. That would leave safeties and linebackers to cover Gronkowski.

Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen may figure he can get away with that as long as coverage linebackers Wesley Woodyard and D.J. Williams are once again physical with the second-year superstar.

The Patriots’ counter to this would be splitting Gronkowski into a slot receiver position (likely in a spread 2 x 2 or 3 x 2 set), where he could line up a few yards off the line and operate against an overwhelmed defender in space. Even if the Broncos decided to sacrifice their run defense by going with dime personnel against the two tight ends, they still would be overmatched.

After all, just because Jonathan Wilhite is a corner doesn’t mean he can cover Gronkowski. This is the problem New England’s offense poses, this is why the Patriots are the No. 1 seed.

4. If lightning strikes twice ...
As the tight end analysis just suggested, the Broncos are faced with a very serious matchup problem that can only be solved by their players rising up and doing things no one thought they could do. It’s improbable, but as Denver’s offense showed last week, not impossible.

So let’s say for the sake of extra analysis that the Broncos can stop Gronkowski and Hernandez with their inside pass defenders. That leaves outside corners Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman on Wes Welker and Deion Branch (who did not play in the last matchup).

If the Broncos want to avoid the matchup problems that New England’s flexible formations create (such as Welker working against a linebacker in the slot), they’ll have to play man-to-man, with Bailey assigned on Welker and Goodman on Branch. Those aren’t bad matchups for either side – it would come down to who executes better (general rule of thumb, over the course of 60 minutes, put your money on the offense).

What we’re not considering is New England’s ability to run the ball. They’re not known for that, but against nickel or dime defense, they’re capable of controlling the game the old fashioned way.

Danny Woodhead has great lateral agility. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a steady, highly professional runner. Of course, he may lose snaps to the more dynamic Stevan Ridley, a third-round rookie who has come on as of late. The Patriots have an excellent run-blocking front five with LG Logan Mankins being a premier puller, RG Brian Waters a shrewd playside anchor, LT Matt Light a crafty angles-creator (including at the second level) and RT Nate Solder a ridiculous athlete out in front.

5. Broncos pass-rush slowing down?
Pass-rush pressure is always a prerequisite for beating Tom Brady. Lately, the Patriots have nullified it with an increased emphasis on three-and five-step drops. Brady is especially sharp at this when working out of an empty backfield.

The Broncos have not had the most fervid pass-rush the last month anyway. They sacked Brady just twice in Week 15. They got Ryan Fitzpatrick just once the next week and Kyle Orton once in the season finale. They got to Ben Roethlisberger in the wild card round but that’s a product of Roethlisberger’s style of play. Denver’s pass-rush did not control the flow of last Saturday’s game. Von Miller has had just one sack since his first game back from a thumb injury (December 11 at Minnesota) and has been less explosive playing with a cast.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all divisional-round games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:56 am
Edited on: January 11, 2012 1:32 am
 

Grudge Report: Divisional matchups are chippy

Eli and Aaron meet again this weekend. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Every year, the NFL schedule makers help create myriad storylines during the regular season. But even the most carefully-planned crafter of matchups couldn't have worked up what we're seeing in the 2011 playoffs.

Not only are all four playoff matchups rematches of contests from earlier in the season (the Saints and 49ers went head-to-head in the preseason), but there's a smaller -- albeit more intriguing storyline -- that goes along with each. Let's examine.

The Matchup: Patriots (-13.5) vs. Broncos
The Grudge
: Josh McDaniels vs. Tim Tebow
Actually, there's no "grudge" between McDaniels and Tebow, per se. In fact, McDaniels is probably happier to see Tebow's success than anyone in the Broncos organization.

Their stupefying march to New England is borderline miraculous and made even more surprising by the fact that McDaniels tenure in Denver -- which lasted a scant 28 games -- was supposed to bottom out the franchise for years to come.

Tebow was the answer for Denver because things were too be too bad to bother with convention. Instead, he provided the spark that gave the Broncos their first division title and first playoff berth since 2005.

McDaniels, who also drafted Demaryius Thomas in the first round of the 2009 draft, can't (and won't) be totally redeemed yet, because Denver's still picking up some pieces from his time spent in the Mile High.

And forget forgiveness, even if the Broncos win, especially since he retreated back to the dark side in an official capacity just moments after the Broncos toppled Pittsburgh in Denver on Sunday.

Broncos fans, members of the Denver media, Broncos players and even Patriots players believe that McDaniels has some magic elixer up his sleeve to stop the Broncos. He might know the personnel on the roster, but they're operating under John Fox.

That still won't change the motivation for both sides, though.

Leach could be the key against his old team. (Getty Images)

The Matchup: Ravens (-7.5) vs. Texans
The Grudge: Vonta Leach vs. Texans
Leach isn't the only ex-Texan looking to get back at his old team -- Pete Prisco correctly nailed the motivation that will fuel safety Bernard Pollard when he faces his old team, especially with the strides they've made on defense. Leach's deal with Houston goes deeper than just changing teams, and he'd tell you that himself:

"Bottom line #texans did not offer me a fair deal or my worth and I found a home in bmore and I'm happy #Ravens!" Leach tweeted on January 7th.

In case you missed it, Arian Foster (who joked with Leach on Twitter about grabbing a meal while he was in town on "business") led the league in rushing with Leach as his fullback last year. Leach was a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro last year, and with the Texans deciding that they could handle their business on the ground sans his presence can't sit well with the ECU grad.

While many believe this game will come down to whether T.J. Yates or Joe Flacco can make more plays, I wholeheartedly disagree. The winner of this game will have more rushing yards and longer touchdown runs, and Leach will be the guy motivated to make sure that Ray Rice ends up with a bigger game than his old teammate Foster.

The Matchup: 49ers vs. Saints (-3.5)
The Grudge: Jim Harbaugh vs. Sean Payton
When the Lions and Saints squared off last week, the idea was that an upset by Detroit might create Handshake Gate 2.0.

But the reality is there might have been a bigger rivalry stewing between Payton and Harbaugh all season long, thanks to Payton releasing his entire pound of hounds at Alex Smith before the season began in a game that ultimately didn't count.

Both coaches downplayed the preseason kerfuffle this week, but what else would you expect?

Harbaugh's talk leading up to Wild-Card Weekend as if the Saints were his only focus, and it's a) hard to blame him (they're the better team/likely opponent) and b) have you seen this guy with revenge on his brain? It's terrifying.

Payton ain't exactly the last guy who'd stick it to someone, but we could see some epic-level celebration if San Francisco wins. Like, Harbaugh could end up doing the Truffle Shuffle at midfield.

At the very least, we could see some Schwartz-level fist-pumps.

The Matchup: Packers (-7.5) vs. Giants
The Grudge: 2007 vs. 2011
Everyone automatically assumes the easy reference for this game is the Giants 2007 season, when they beat the Packers in Lambeau (after losing to an undefeated team 38-35 during the season) en route to winning a Super Bowl.

But these teams (the exact same ones!) already played this year, when the Packers won in New York.

In that game, Eli was working his way to elite status by leading the Giants back. Only Aaron Rodgers got the ball last and when that happens the Packers typically win. In this case, they did, and it's something that's sitting on the minds of both teams.

The Giants want revenge for an earlier loss in the season, obviously. But the Packers are motivated for a different reason: no one is talking about them. We mentioned earlier this year that the Packers are the most dominant team in NFL history to fly under the radar. It remains that way for a number of different storylines.

The Giants might not have forgotten the previous game from 2011, and maybe they haven't forgotten 2007. But don't think for a second that the Packers have either. Both those games are still fresh on their mind. And, we're willing to bet, serving as more than enough motivation to take care of business against New York in Lambeau.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 6:22 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 12:28 pm
 

Pittsburgh mayor Tebows after losing playoff bet

By Will Brinson

The Steelers gave up their first 300-yard passing effort on Sunday. In the playoffs. To Tim Tebow. That's probably a bit frustrating. Of course, it's not as frustrating as having to get on local television and Tebow for your loyal citizens.

Which is what Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl was forced to do after losing to his Denver counterpart Michael Hancock.

"This is not something I ever thought I’d have to do, and it’s certainly not something I’m looking forward to," Mayor Ravenstahl said in a statement via CBS Pittsburgh. "However, we’re good sports here in Pittsburgh and I want to congratulate Denver on a great win."

Hey, it's OK, your, um, mayorness. Almost no one picked the Broncos to win on Sunday. And there's definitely no one saw the Mile-High Miracle unfolding the way it did. Tebowing is the least you can do.

While we're here, though, let's handle the elephant in the room: the mayor of Pittsburgh, where the Steelers live, has the word "Ravens" in his last name.

Yes, it's almost as big a miracle that he got elected as Tebow winning Sunday, but it's not like he hasn't addressed it head on: when the Steelers and Ravens met up in the playoffs in the 2008 season, he changed his last name to "Steelerstahl."

Of course, all of Ravenstahl's ideas aren't gold. He wouldn't make a bet with the mayor of Glendale before the Steelers played the Cardinals in the Super Bowl, and he awkwardly danced around not having a parade before the Steelers won it all that year.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 1:33 pm
 

Brady says McDaniels has 'inside information'

Will McDaniels be the difference in Saturday's Denver-New England game? (Of course not.) (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

Oh boy. Tom Brady has gone and done it. During his weekly appearance on Boston's WEEI, the Patriots quarterback said that new (old) offensive assistant Josh McDaniels, who was hired over the weekend and began work immediately, "obviously has some inside information" on New England's opponent Saturday, the Denver Broncos.

On the surface, they're hardly inflammatory comments … except that some segments of the media have already questioned the hire for the very reasons Brady mentioned. The Denver Post's Mike Klis writes Tuesday that "Once again, Belichick has found a loophole in the rulebook by hiring McDaniels as an offensive assistant coach the week before the Patriots play McDaniels' former team. And the NFL has plugged its ears and covered its eyes to a move that would seem to at least violate the spirit of fair competition."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello explained the move thusly: "Teams in the playoffs can sign players."

Klis' response: "Yes, but playoff teams can't sign players from other teams. And a case can be made that in regard to the 2011 season, McDaniels' job should be finished."

And that leads us back to Brady's remarks:

“He obviously has some inside information on that team and those players, as he coached them. I haven’t seen Josh yet, so I really don’t know,” Brady said. “I think coach [Bill] Belichick has a pretty good idea of what he’s going to want Josh to do. I talked to Josh briefly but I really haven’t had a chance to sit down with him. He’s a great coach and we’re lucky to have him. I’m excited to get back to work with him. How that plays into this week, we’ll see. We’ll try to figure that out here in the next five or six days.”

But here's the thing: McDaniels got fired midway through the 2010 season for being pretty bad at his job. In '09, the Broncos started 6-0 before finishing 8-8. The next season, they went 4-12. And while Tebow was drafted on McDaniels' watch, the Broncos were still a season away from running the read option under John Fox.

Not only that, but the Patriots have already played -- and soundly beaten -- the Broncos this season without McDaniels' assistance. So whatever knowledge, inside or otherwise, McDaniels might possess, we can't imagine it will much affect the Pats' game plan.

The Post's Woody Paige feels differently.

"Belichick brought in Kid McCoach as an 'offensive assistant' just in time to interrogate him before the Patriots' rematch with the Broncos and 32 of McDaniels' players and nine assistant coaches from last season's team. The Broncos fired McDaniels on Dec. 6, 2010, because of failure as a coach (17 losses in McD's last 22 games), his poor player-people-press skills and, ultimately, the videotaping scandal that undid the franchise. …

"[McDaniels] can provide inside information and tendencies of players and coaches, especially the offensive coordinator he worked closely with, Mike McCoy. Some aspects of his old playbook passing offense were retained."

Yes, because the Patriots looked lost against the Pats in the Week 15 matchup they won 41-23. Tom Brady threw for 320 yards, tossed two touchdowns and ran for another. Tebow, meanwhile, was 11 of 22 for 194 yards with two rushing touchdowns and a lost fumble. We're quite certain that whatever insights McDaniels might have, occurred to Belichick and his coaching staff when they were preparing for the Broncos the first time.

Put differently: if McDaniels is so smart, he'd still be a head coach. Or at the very least, something more than the offensive coordinator for the league's worst unit.

Either way, Brady isn't so much concerned with what McDaniels may or may not know as he is with Denver's defense.

"Look, I’m thinking about Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil and Brian Dawkins and Champ Bailey," he said. "They’ve got plenty of good players on defense for me to worry about. Just like last time, coach talks about doing your job. And there’s no better coaching point this week than for everyone to do their job, not only on the field but off the field, taking care of what you need to take care of so we can be at our best for the most important game of our season."

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:11 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 2:47 pm
 

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

Some players might argue that the rules change led to Decker's knee injury. (US PRESSWIRE/AP)

By Ryan Wilson

On the first play of the second quarter of Sunday's Steelers-Broncos game, Tim Tebow completed a 21-yard pass to then-favorite target Eric Decker. It was a nice throw, and an easy catch for Decker right up to the moment when Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison tackled him low, collapsing Decker's knee in the process.

The Denver wide receiver ended up on the turf writhing in pain. He was helped off the field and didn't return. Literally adding insult to injury: the Steelers challenged the call, which was overturned to an incompletion. Of course, a play later, Tebow threw the first of many 30-plus-yard passes to Damaryius Thomas, and two plays after that, Denver led 7-6.

The hit by Harrison -- which is perfectly legal in the eyes of the league -- was the realization of fears many players voiced after NFL rules prohibited hitting players high. The players' thinking: it's a lot easier to come back from a high-impact collision when it doesn't involve torn knee ligaments or broken legs.

Broncos vice president of football operations John Elway knows this, and he doesn't think that Harrison's intentions were dirty. It's just the nature of today's NFL. (And we discussed it on Tuesday's Pick-6 Podcast embedded below for your listening pleasure)


"The (tackling) target is now lower," Elway said on his weekly Denver radio show on 102.3 FM Monday night according to The Huddle.

"Harrison yesterday, because of the fact that he's been fined so often, really had no other option. ... I don't think he intended to hurt Eric. But obviously because of the situations he's been in, he had to go low and stay away from the head. And it ended up costing an MCL sprain for Eric."

It's the unintended consequences of actions not thought through entirely. Yes, the NFL should thrive for making the game as safe as possible, but drastic changes don't come without ramifications. And the league can't argue that knee injuries were unforeseen because players lamented the possibly as soon as the new rules were announced.

The NFL could point out, however, that the prevalence of knee injuries haven't increased in light of the rules changes. (We write this anecdotally; Decker is the first time we remember a player suffering a below-the-waist injury on a play that, in previous seasons, might've resulted in a hit to the shoulders or head area.) The NFL could also show that even chronic offenders can change the way they play.

Harrison was suspended in Week 15 for taking off Colt McCoy's head in the previous game. At the time, Harrison said "I don't know. I guess try and be more aware about the placement of my face mask. I don't know how you tackle someone and not use any part of your head, especially if you're trying to see what you're hitting. I mean, your face mask is going to touch them."

And now the league has what it wants. It's just that, depending on player backlash, they might not want it very long.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:00 am
Edited on: January 10, 2012 10:01 am
 

Tracking Tebow: wild, wild, wild-card weekend

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)




                                                        Quotes



"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


                                                   Audio-Visual




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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Posted on: January 9, 2012 2:00 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 5:02 pm
 

Tim Tebow unlocks $250K playoff bonus in contract

Playoff wins for Tebow = Straight Cash Homie. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Tim Tebow did a lot of things Sunday that no one expected (like throw for exactly 316 passing yards). One such thing: unlocking a $250,000 bonus in his contract for winning a playoff game.

A clause in Tebow's contract paying him that money was activated on Sunday night according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, when Tebow won a playoff game. For every playoff game that Tebow wins, provided he's taken 70 percent of his team's snaps in a season, he gets an additional $250,000.

Tebowmania

We already knew that Tebow unlocked a $472,000 bonus for playing in more than 45 percent of his team's snaps back in December.

Closing out the season as the starter, Tebow passed the 70-percent threshold and now is owed an additional $250 GRR.

If the Broncos somehow manage to topple New England, Tebow will be in line for an additional bonus. (And the same is true up through the Super Bowl, giving Tebow the potential to earn an extra ... one million dollars.)

And you know what's almost as funny as Austin Powers jokes? Thinking back to before the season and imagining a world where Tebow not only played in 73 percent of the Broncos plays in 2011, but discussing the possibility of him making an extra quarter-million as a result of beating the Steelers in the playoffs.

Yet, somehow, here we are.

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Posted on: January 9, 2012 11:03 am
Edited on: January 10, 2012 11:18 am
 

John 3:16 trends again thanks to Tim Tebow

Tebow in the days when he was allowed to wear Bible verses on his eye black. (Getty Images)


By Will Brinson

You'd think that the Tim Tebow story couldn't get any more bananas. You'd be wrong. See, it's not just that Tebow transformed himself into a legitimate passer in the playoffs. Or that Tebow is about to go against the guy who drafted him, Josh McDaniels. How about the fact that the guy who's renowned for writing John 3:16 on his eye black just happened to throw for 316 yards on Sunday in the Broncos win?

Because that actually happened.

The result, as with anything relating to Tim Tebow was predictable, is a Google-splosion:

Timothy is fairly popular. Especially when his passing yards = Bible verses. (Google.com)

Think about this: Beyonce and Jay-Z, arguably two of the 10 most famous people on the planet, had a baby -- TOGETHER! -- and they rank third on the things that the world is searching about, behind two things relating to Timothy J.C. Tebow. (Not to mention the other two searches out-pacing everything else but the new Fusion and baby Beyonce.) It's pretty insane.

And for those that are curious about the further weirdness of statistical anomalies, before last night there were 46 quarterbacks who had thrown for 316 yards in either a playoff or regular season game in NFL history. This morning? There are 47. If only that had any significance to Mr. Tebow ...

There were 46 quarterbacks with 316 passing yards. Now there are 47. (Getty Images)

And one more, just for kicks: there's only one other playoff game in NFL history featuring someone who passed for 316 yards. Sadly, the other person's name isn't "John." (But Tebow's boss is John Elway, so, yeah.)

Tebowmania

We'll just have to settle for someone named Daunte.

UPDATE 2:50 p.m. ET: OK, so we're not quite done yet. As our brilliant commenters point out below, Tebow completed 10 passes. That means he averaged 31.6 yards per pass. His final pass was to Thomas who just happens to have been born on Christmas Day. (!)

Oh and this: the Steelers-Broncos game was the most-watched wild-card game since 1988. In the final quarter-hour, the overnight rating was 31.6. Weird stuff man, weird stuff.

As it turns out, the lone interception thrown in the game on Sunday night came from Ben Roethlisberger. What down and distance were involved when he threw it? Third and 16. Of course.

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