Monday, December 27, 2010

Broncos Gameday Recap: Game 15 - vs Texans OR How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tebow

I am going to dismiss breaking down this game in any meaningful way very shortly, so let me first say that if this is the final time we see Champ Bailey in Broncos orange and blue, thanks for the memories, sir. As to a quick recap of non-rookie quarterback news, quickly…the Broncos defense is atrocious, the Texans kicker is deadly accurate from long range, and the Broncos are lucky to have won. However, they did win, and the rest of this “recap” column is going to focus on the only thing that matters in Denver football right now. Tim Tebow.
Immediately upon dismissing Josh McDaniels, Tim Tebow immediately become the only question the Broncos needed to try and get some answers on with what remained of this nightmarish season. Foolishly, Eric Studesville started Kyle Orton in Arizona, and kept him in despite getting rolled. Fortunately he came to his senses, or more likely someone above him stepped in and said, “Let’s see the Florida kid.” And since that disaster in the desert, we’re are beginning to learn a bit about the quarterback McDaniels spent too much to obtain.
He was mostly shackled for the first game and a half, and as a result was largely ineffective, however, with the Broncos down 17-0, and looking very much lackluster…Tebow came alive. The end result was a big comeback win in his home debut, and an adoring crowd screaming his name long after the game ended. (Or so I was told by my brother who attended the game.)
I, myself, was driving down I-70 in Western Kansas the whole game, so I merely listened on the radio. However, I was encouraged by what I heard. A team with nothing to play for rallied for no reason other than pride to give a downtrodden fan base a reason to cheer, and that team was led by a quarterback making his second ever start.
The actual end result of the game was probably more a matter of luck and fortuitous scheduling than it was a result of Tebow bending the game to his will, but allow us to play with the narrative a bit. The Texans are an emotionally brittle group who will likely be looking for a new coach this time next week. They are shell shocked from the myriad of exciting ways they have found to lose close games this year, and if any team is going to fold when the going gets tough on the road, Houston is a prime candidate. Truth be told if not for a lucky bounce at the line of scrimmage causing the ball to soar directly into the waiting arms of Syd’Quan Thompson, effectively ending the game in the Broncos favor, quite likely the Texans would have at worst kicked a field goal as time expired to send Denver to it’s sixth straight loss. This is often a game of crazy bounces, though, and thanks to that happy deflection, the Broncos pulled out a glorious win; one that the Denver fan base has not been treated to very often this season.
So, what to make of Timmy? I am of two minds on this subject, and the two sides are doing battle in my psyche trying to make heads or tails of this young man behind center for my beloved Broncos:
The optimist in me says this is John Elway 2: The Comeback Kid! There was something about the way his personality and enthusiasm took over the game, rallying from three scores down in the second half to generate a win from the ashes of a burned out season. This is a sign of things to come. Timmy will lead us, and we will gladly follow to Super Bowl rings and glory. The man is a leader, and a winner, and despite his awkward throwing motion, he routinely makes things happen when he gets a chance. This is the side of me that wants to run out and purchase a #15 jersey in both orange and navy blue so I can wear one while the other is in the wash.

Then there is the pessimist in me. (Or as he would call himself, “The Realist.”) The NFL has only seen him a handful of times, and defensive coordinators are now in their labs cooking up ways to stop him. Despite positive signs, the fact is that he most definitely has the training wheels on, and the coaches are not ready for him to open things up, because he is not ready himself. Also, most people felt like it was a gigantic reach by Denver to grab Tebow in the first round, and there was likely a reason that was the case. His throwing motion is the polar opposite of textbook, and there are significant and legitimate questions to whether or not he’s going to get himself killed running around as much as he does.
I don’t know what to think. Part of me says the kid is legit, part of me says he’ll never make it. All I know is that when I watch (or listen) to the Broncos on Sunday, they are more interesting with the kid playing quarterback. His stats were decent yesterday. Not great, but very respectable. 16-29 for 308 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception. Add in the 27 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown, and that is a pretty good day even before you factor in that he did it in dramatic fashion, engineering a 4th quarter come from behind victory from a 17 point first half deficit.
I enjoy cheering for the kid, and I can’t possibly wish him any more luck than I already am hoping for him. The games are more exciting when he is in, and there is a nervous energy in the air when he walks into the huddle as if the entire city of Denver is a high school girl, and Tebow is the captain of the football team that is showing her some love. There is a giddy love affair in Denver right now with this kid. It is more than slightly irrational, and it may just be puppy love, but the whole city is hoping that it turns into a long and meaningful relationship, and who am I to go against that?
Go Broncos, and Go Tebow! Hopefully, this can be start of a beautiful friendship, if not…we’ll always have the Texans game.

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