Good Morning, Broncos fans! Why so happy? Yesterday went about as well as could be expected for the Broncos - Tim Tebow performed well enough to give hope that he is indeed the future, the Broncos' draft position was solidified into a likely top-3 pick, and the defense reminded us all of what the Broncos need with such a choice.
In terms of draft position, the combination of Denver's loss to Jokeland and victories by Carolina, Cincinnati, Detroit and Buffalo means that if the Broncos lose to both Houston and San Diego, they will gain either the first or second pick in April's draft. If Denver loses both games and Carolina were to win one of its last two games (unlikely), Denver would then gain the top spot overall. Then again, Atlanta would wrap up home field advantage in the NFC with a victory next week and would then not need to beat Carolina in Week 17. Should Denver go 1-1 and everyone else 0-2, the Broncos would pick 4th overall. if the Broncos were to win both games, suddenly a whole bunch of other teams enter the equation. Ideally? Denver ends up with the first overall pick, Andrew Luck declares, auction ensues, and the Broncos end up with a bounty of picks ala what the Dolts did when they gave up the right to trade Michael Vick in 2001 and swapped Eli Manning for Philip Rivers in 2004. Then, it's defense, defense, defense...
But back to the game. For some reason, Mike McCoy held Tebow back a bit - the rookie only attempted 16 passes, including one fortunate TD to Brandon Lloyd, who made a spectacular catch on the ground in double coverage after the ball was tipped. More importantly, Tebow made very few poor throws and instead pulled off several plays that Kyle Orton could never dream of making, most notably a 40-yard TD run on a draw play during which he was actually supposed to hand to Correll Buckhalter (full Tebow highlights here). Also of great import, his delivery was less loopy than what we had seen in the preseason, although still not ideal. Overall, Tebow showed flashes of everything he is supposed to be - a tough, emotional player with a strong arm and the ability to extend plays amid a pass rush, make plays out of the pocket when forced beyond it, and to gain serious yardage via running, whether by design or not. Hopefully, we'll get to see more of him the next two weeks, and with more of the playbook at his disposal.
Statistically, Tebow ended up with 207 net yards from scrimmage on 26 passing and rushing attempts (including 2 sacks), good for a 7.96-yard average. He completed 8-of-16 passes for 138 yards, rushed 8 times for 78 yards, and had one TD each passing and rushing. All the good stuff aside, the offense managed just 9 first downs and was but 2-for-12 on third down with Tebow at the helm. As for the rest of the team, Denver won the turnover battle 3 to 1, yet they gave up a staggering 264 rushing yards and 502 in total, also allowing Jokeland to possess the ball for 33:57. It's time to draft some defensive studs...
Chris Hall and Broncos TV wrap up the game.
Highlights from NFLN.
Mason evaluates Tebow's first start.
Klis sums up the game.
Woody skewers the rest of the team (and coaches) but says there's now hope for the future.
Legwold on the Broncos' thinned-down playbook.
Krieger isn't so sure that Tebow is ready to play, or that he can throw a deep ball with authority.
Scott McCoy of the Star-Telegram wonders about the "Tebow can't play QB" narrative.
Notes on the Broncos - Knowshon Moreno sustained a rib injury, while Spencer Larsen left with an ankle injury. According to this report, Denver is likely to start Tebow the next two weeks no matter Kyle Orton's health.
Klis says Denver has to go defense come April.
Tom Cable apparently lit up his team at halftime.
Corkran's notes on the game.
Tafur on Tebow's debut.
Matt Cassel came back and led the Chefs to a win.
Notes on the Chefs.
The Dolts' playoff chances didn't get any help yesterday. Boo Hoo.
Mike Silver wraps up the day.
PK does the same in his MMQB.
Pats lineman Dan Connolly did something last night I've never, ever seen before. Truly, it was amazing.
In writing about McNabb and the Shanahans, Doug Farrar shows he's still butt hurt about Jay Cutler.