Before I get started let me make one thing clear, I would really love to let the whole Tim Tebow thing go when it comes to the Denver Broncos. He’s not here anymore and the Broncos now have one of the best quarterbacks ever running their offense. I have nothing against Tebow and, unlike others, do not relish in bashing him. However after four days of trying to ignore it, the time has come to address some of the stuff I’ve been hearing from SOME Bronco fans since Monday night’s win over the San Diego Chargers. Some of my points are going to come off as bashing Tebow; that’s not my intent but if that’s the way it is taken, then so be it.
The basic argument I’ve heard is this, “What’s the big deal, Tebow came back all the time last season?” First of all Tebow never came back from 24-0; the offense led by Tebow rarely scored 24 points. The comeback on Monday night was led by Manning who completed 13 straight passes to start the second half, three of those completions went for scores.
Probably the most famous Tebow comeback was the win over the Chicago Bears when they were down 10-0 late in the fourth quarter. Tebow deserves credit but let’s not act like he was dropping back 30 times and picking the Bears apart. He put together one drive versus a defense that was giving the Broncos all the underneath stuff they wanted. Again to his credit, Tebow hit some passes and led the Broncos to a touchdown to make the score 10-7. If the Bears, specifically Marion Barber, don’t help the Broncos then the comeback never happens. In any comeback, the other team has to help but Barber running out of bounds was an inexcusable mistake. If he stays in bounds on that third-down play, the Broncos have maybe twenty seconds to go 50 yards.
Then there’s kicker, Matt Prater who many people seem to forget about in the win over the Bears. He didn’t make a 30-yard chip shot to tie the game; he made a 59-yarder as time ran out. Then in overtime, Prater made a 54-yarder to win the game. The point is this, Tebow certainly had a hand in that comeback and others from 2011 but let’s not pretend he was leading the Broncos back from 24-0 down every single week.
If you look back to the comeback led by Manning over the Chargers on Monday night, he was the primary reason that the Broncos were able to win the football game. If the Broncos go three and out on the first drive of the second half, the game is probably over. Not only did they score, Manning and the offense made it look easy and from that point on it felt like the offense was going to score every time they had the football. Of course Manning had help from his teammates on offense, and of course the defense but if the Broncos are being quarterbacked by anybody else then they lose on Monday night.
In addition to the thirteen straight completions to start the second half, Manning converted every big third-down including third and sixteen when the Broncos were still down by 10. He also made throws into areas that, quite frankly, Tebow never even would have attempted let alone actually completing them. (See the touchdown throw to Brandon Stokley to take the lead.) That’s all the tangible stuff but Manning’s intangibles are second to no one. He’s not the demonstrative leader that Tebow is but Manning brings a confidence, and a swagger that very few in sports have.
No one, including me, is saying that what Tebow did in some games last season wasn’t impressive but so many of those games had the “That was a miracle” feel. The comeback on Monday night felt like a surgeon who just went to work and methodically sliced up the Charger’s defense. The best way I can describe it is like this. When Tebow threw the touchdown pass versus the Bears to cut the lead to 10-7, my reaction was “Oh WOW, they scored. My reaction when Manning threw that first touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas on Monday night my reaction was, “Oh-Oh, here he comes!”
Tebow brings a lot of things to a football team but to compare what he did versus the Bears last season to what Manning did versus the Chargers is like comparing finger painting to Picasso. The Denver Broncos are a better team this season for a few reasons but the primary one is because of the guy calling the signals.
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