Happy Halloween, Broncos fans! Unfortunately, it seems Tim Tebow & Co. got all their treats a week early, because yesterday was just one big trick - and the Lions just weren't fooled by Tim's winner costume in their 45-10 victory (box score). In fact, Detroit didn't follow the script properly at all, because their Scooby Doo-style unveiling of Tebow as a fraud came way too early in the show. Or, was it that Tebow turned into a pumpkin when struck by a more talented team? Because really, the Broncos looked like a bunch of headless horsemen yesterday.
Okay, no more Halloween puns. Last week we got 55 minutes of ugly from Denver, and yesterday wasn't really any better. Granted, Tebow for much of the game looked better than he had in Miami, but that's hardly saying anything at all. We can pin it on the coaches, on the offensive line, the receivers, the defense. But this is the NFL, and it's all about the quarterback - or wouldn't this team have started out 4-1 or 5-0 had Tebow been the QB from Week 1?
This is what Tebow was supposed to bring to the Broncos: more big plays, fewer negative ones, fewer turnovers, more points, and better play from his teammates (because they really, really want to play for him). In his two starts, the Broncos have had five 20+ yard plays and three 60+ yard drives, Tebow has fumbled four times (and been fortunate to have only lost one - yes, that is a matter of pure luck), taken 13 sacks, threw a pick-six yesterday, and the team has scored 25 points in two games; 28 if we include overtime last week. For comparison's sake, the last time Kyle Orton played a full game, Denver had four 20+ yard plays, five 60+ yard drives, and 23 points; and that was against the still-undefeated SB Champion Packers on their turf.
That's not a call for Orton to be the starting QB again for the Denver Broncos. We still need to see how much Tebow can improve this season, and he should get the start on Sunday in Oakland and beyond. But so far, he does not look like a starter-quality NFL quarterback, and it remains to be seen how long it takes him to reach that level, much less the star he needs to be for the Broncos to win big with him. Sure, he makes the occasional good decision and/or good throw, and he even looked composed within the pocket at times yesterday. Yes, that's what young players do (and no, he's not a rookie - let's dispense with that ASAP), but there has to be a solid baseline from which to improve - and poor footwork, shoddy mechanics and inaccurate throws just do not offer that.
Look, Denver fans got their wish. They wanted rid of Josh McDaniels (and his brother Ben who sure made Tebow look like an NFL QB last year) and they got it. They wanted Tebow to become their starting QB and a national sensation, and they got that, too. What's next? The rest of the team needs to be rebuilt to fit Tim's raw and/or limited skills starting with the 2012 Draft? Sorry, but I'm guessing that John Elway is no April Fool. (I didn't say I'd avoid other holiday puns, did I?)
Jeff Legwold analyzes the loss, Lindsay Jones says it was something of a reality check for the players after last week's miracle, and notes from the DP: Quinton Carter suffered a concussion, Orlando Franklin had a groin injury, Cassius Vaughn hurt a hamstring and Virgil Green left with a neck injury.
Mark Kiszla says Tebow is not an NFL QB, and wonders how he can lead this team if he doesn't make plays.
Woody Paige says the gameplan and Tebow's performance were equally ghastly.
Tom Pollin of CHFF says Tebow isn't as bad as he looked yesterday, and that he needs to not get swept up in the praise from last week nor the criticism coming his way this week.
Here's video of Kiszla and Paige chatting about the game from SAFaMH.
Dave Krieger thinks the Broncos have to be worried that yesterday represented what Tebow is as an NFL QB, and he wonders how much longer they'll stick with him.
Williamson spoke to a Denver veteran who wondered when Elway/Fox will lose patience with Tebow, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't Brandon Lloyd.
Baltimore added to the season's list of wild comebacks, overcoming a 21-point halftime deficit to beat Arizona 30-27.
Olindo Mare incredibly missed a 31-yard FG attempt which would have tied the game in the closing seconds as the Vikings held off the Panthers 24-21.
Houston held Blaine Gabbert to just 10 completions for 97 passing yards in beating Jacksonville 24-14.
The Giants took some early blows from Miami but came back to win 20-17 behind 349 yards and two TDs from Eli Manning.
St. Louis surprisingly got off the schneid, beating New Orleans 31-21 as Steven Jackson piled up 159 yards and two scores, while Brandon Lloyd selfishly caught a TD pass. Here are Matt Bowen's notes on the game.
Tennessee scored on a blocked punt and got both a rushing and receiving TD from Nate Washington to beat the winless Colts 27-10.
Buffalo sacked John Beck nine times and handed Mike Shanahan the first shutout of his head-coaching career, 23-0.
Ben Roethlisberger attempted 50 passes as the Steelers went to the air to take down New England 25-17.
Cincinnati used two Andy Dalton TD passes, a punt return TD by Brandon Tate, and a pick-six from Reggie Nelson to whip Seattle 34-12.
San Fran beat the Browns 20-10 as Frank Gore for the fourth straight game topped 125 rushing yards and scored a TD.
Philly annihilated Dallas 34-7 as Michael Vick threw for two scores and LeSean McCoy compiled 200 yards from scrimmage and ran for two TDs.
Adam Schefter is hearing the Bears will use their franchise tag on Matt Forte next offseason if the two sides are unable to agree to a new contract.
The Raiders have apparently worked out T.J. Whosyourmama and will give him a physical tomorrow as they consider reuniting him with workout buddy and former Bengals teammate Carson Palmer.
Mike Silver, Peter King, Don Banks, Jason Cole, Clark Judge, John Clayton recap Sunday's games, plus MJD's best and worst players of the day. Silver says the Lions' defenders weren't at all surprised by Tebow's ineptitude, and he's hearing that Denver will turn to Brady Quinn at QB if things fail to improve in short order. King, meanwhile, figures that Tebow will last another 2-3 weeks.
Andrew Das looks at the record-setting five 20-point comebacks of the season thus far.
Bucky Brooks examines college prospects and finds plenty of top defensive talent at Chapel Hill.