How to beat the Broncos
The Broncos are also winning with Tebow posting a Total QBR of 34.6 (31st in the league). However, it’s fair to note that while QBR does account for a quarterback’s running ability, it doesn’t account for the return of the option quarterback. The option hadn’t been seen in the NFL for decades and is even being phased out in college football. But the Broncos are running it and Tebow is making it work.
According to our video analysis team, up to this point, the Broncos’ option is working at a rate of about 55 percent, a rate far exceeding that of normal rushing plays around the league (about 44 percent), and an enormous jump on the Broncos’ running success rate when not using the option (about 36 percent). Given that Tebow has to make the quick decisions on what to do with the ball, he deserves some credit for this that QBR is currently not giving him.
You'll need an ESPN Insider subscription to access this article, but if you don't have one, let me summarize Dean Oliver's earth-shattering game plan for beating the Broncos:
- Score on the Broncos' amazing defense
- Use play-action passes
- If you get a lead, don't go Marty Schottenheimer
- Play Cover 2 with the safeties and spy Tebow
- Don't overload the box in running situations; the Broncos are being deceptive.
Oliver does offer another fact that doesn't constitute a strategy, but is interesting (and obvious if one has been paying attention)--namely, that the Broncos have been trying to trick opponents by showing 3-wide receiver sets when they are, in fact, going to run the football. Of course they have, my dear Oliver. It's simply another way of forcing the defense to use a defensive back against a 245-pound quarterback who loves to truck guys smaller than him.
Fortunately for the Broncos, Oliver's plan is not not easily executed unless you're the Green Bay Packers. Six teams have tried. Five teams have failed. Something is working. The last time I remember reading articles like this, it was 1998.