The Denver Broncos came away with a win Sunday, but the vast divide between quarterback Tim Tebow’s critics and supporters remains.
Tebow won a game with inconsistent play, dependent on recovering an improbable onside kick.
Supporters view the victory as an attribution to the intangibles and sheer determination Tebow brings to Denver.
Tebow looked horrible during the first three and a half quarters. His first pass almost resulted in a pick six, but Miami inside linebacker Karlos Dansby let the ball slip through his fingers.
Delighted critics saw Tebow’s tendency to panic under pressure and toss jump balls on full display during his first pass of the game.
Broncos coach John Fox definitely tweaked the offense to be more run-oriented, using Tebow and running back Willis McGahee as a double threat.
However, Miami coach Tony Sparano began loading the box with eight defenders, disregarding Tebow’s ability to pass.
The Broncos’ running game became less effective, and Tebow proved Sparano’s passing theory correct – at first.
On one third-down conversion attempt, Tebow missed his wide-open tight end, Daniel Fells, so badly it was difficult to determine if he was attempting a completion or just throwing the ball away.
Tebow’s critics insist once teams plan for Tebow’s unique skill set, they can easily contain him with the use of higher-caliber defensive players he rarely faced in college.
Taking away the run forces Tebow to beat the opposing team with the pass, potentially his greatest weakness.
On the flip side, Tebow kept plays alive and fans on the edges of their seats with his ability to feel and avoid the rush.
Even with Miami’s focus on containment, Tebow turned potential sacks into first downs using his speed and strength to avoid and brush off defenders.
Tebow finally called Miami’s bluff on daring him to pass with less than six minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Suddenly, his accuracy resembled a proficient NFL quarterback as he hit Daniel Fells and wide receiver Matthew Willis on deep routes.
The pass to Fells wasn’t pretty, but the “duck” zipped through triple coverage setting up another great pass and catch between them both for a score.
The Broncos moved down the field with purpose and urgency, but most fans saw it as too little, too late.
After the Dolphins fumbled away an onside kick, Tebow marched the Broncos down the field for a touchdown and two-point conversion.
Denver scored 15 points in less than three minutes and won the field position battle in overtime. That gave kicker Matt Prater the opportunity for the 52-yard game-winning field goal.
It was pretty obvious Fox didn’t want Tebow airing out the ball after their defense recovered a fumble in Miami territory.
Three straight running plays netted two yards before Prater was sent out.
If Fox trusted Tebow, he may have attempted to gain more yards, considering Prater missed two field goals earlier in the game.
Although the Broncos won, they were shut out by a horrendous 0-5 football team for 56 minutes with a victory dependent on the outcome of an onside kick, in which Tebow had no influence.
After one game, it appears the critics and supporters can both say, “I told you so.”
People: Tim Tebow