Whatever your position on Tim Tebow, Sunday’s Patriots-Broncos game delivered both positive and negative signs for Denver’s prospects for the postseason and beyond.
There was Tebow’s vintage touchdown run through the arms of three would-be tacklers that opened the scoring and gave the Broncos’ faithful a spark rarely seen before the fourth quarter in recent weeks.
And then there was the 28-yard run toward his own end zone that resulted in a soul-crushing sack and left Tebow haters cackling all the way to the final whistle. (I watched the game with a few Patriots fans, and I can assure you there was quite a bit of cackling.)
New England won 41-23, and at least for one week, Broncos fans were forced to recall the taste of defeat.
But if you expected the Tebow and company to come out after the game doubting the formula that’s made them the talk of the NFL over the last night weeks, well... you haven’t been paying attention.
“We did have things going pretty well early, scored on the first three possessions and felt like we were moving the ball good and then we put it on the ground,” Tebow said. “That’s something you can’t do against a great team and Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
“Besides that, we were right there with them.”
If you listened carefully during the post-game handshakes, you could hear Brady telling Tebow “We’ll see you again.”
And thanks to a late Lions comeback against the Raiders, that possibility remains just as likely as it did before Sunday’s result.
Tebow is not the only guy who left the field feeling less discouraged than you might expect following an 18-point home defeat.
“He’s gotten better every week,” Broncos coach John Fox said of his quarterback. “Six or seven weeks ago, people said he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. He does that. I think he can do that. I don’t think that’s why we lost the game tonight.”
The signs of improvement are evident: Tebow completed 50 percent of his passes for the fourth straight week, finished with 194 yards through the air and did not throw an interception. But he failed to throw a touchdown pass, took four sacks and lost a fumble for the third consecutive week — trends that will make it difficult for Denver to keep pace with high-octane offenses. In five games against top-10 passers this season, the Broncos are only 1-4.
Denver maintained a one-game edge over AFC West rivals Oakland and San Diego and closes the regular season with games against Buffalo and Kansas City. And with the way his season has gone so far, it shouldn’t surprise you that Tebow is still as confident as ever.
“I definitely fee like we’re all right,” he said.
Do you agree? Will the Broncos make the playoffs or did the Patriots end Tebow Time once and for all?
Note: CBS’ broadcast drew a 19.5 overnight rating, which is the highest for any NFL game this season.
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