Tebowing to Mediocrity

by on November 30th, 2014
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This season Tim Tebow sparked more interest than ever into a mediocre football team. All the stars aligned, nothing short of miracles took place, and somehow the Broncos snuck into the playoffs. And if that wasn’t enough, they were given the gift of a team obliterated by injuries in the first round.

The Broncos are heading into the offseason with confidence, and the belief their starting quarterback of the future is ready to lead them on another wild playoff run next season. Just one problem; there is no way that is going to happen again.

Broncos’ fans don’t want to hear this, but when you break down this past season it is easy to see. While it is true the Tebow led Broncos were able to overcome a 1-4 record to finish 8-8, it is also true that they could not have had more things go right for them. Here are some examples of some ridiculously fortunate events for Denver that led to victories:

Game 6 at Miami – Denver needed two touchdowns, a two-point conversion, and an onside kick to send the game to OT. And the Dolphins fumbled the ball in OT to give the Broncos the ball in FG range. Game 8 at Oakland – Matched up against the Raiders in Carson Palmer’s first start, and Oakland was without the NFL’s leading rusher at the time, Darren McFadden. Palmer threw three interceptions. Game 9 at KC – There weren’t any specific events that led to Denver’s win, but the Chiefs were so bad that Denver was able to win despite Tebow only completing 2 passes. Game 10 vs NYJ – The Jets were without Greene and Tomlinson in this game, and Mark Sanchez handed seven points to Denver with one of the worst passes you’ll ever see. Also, the normally sure-tackling safety Jim Leonard missed a tackle on Eddie Royal for a safety that would have ended the game. Game 11 at SD – The Chargers missed a game winning FG attempt in OT before Prater hit the winner with 29 seconds left in OT. Game 12 vs CHI – The injury riddled Bears were without Butler and Forte. Still the Bears led by 10 with just over 2:00 remaining, but Forte’s replacement, Marion Barber, ran out of bounds with 53 seconds remaining, which gave the Broncos another chance. Prater came through with a 59 yard FG send the game into OT. Then in OT Barber fumbled while the Bears were within FG range. That setup 51 yard winner for Denver. Playoffs vs PIT – Denver won 29-23 against a Steeler team decimated by injuries. Roethlisberger was completely immobile, which led to 5 sacks. Pouncey was out, and his replacement had a bad snap at the end of the first half that took the Steelers out of FG range. Mendenhall was out for the game. Ryan Clark was out as well, and one has to wonder if the Broncos would have been so successful with deep passes if Clark was in the secondary.

In the NFL there are times when a team has success introducing a new strategy that goes radically against the norm. However, it generally doesn’t take long for team to figure out how to stop the new strategy, and then it fizzles away. Just ask the Dolphins. Three years ago they won 9 of their final 10 games to go 11-5 and win the AFC East by using the Wildcat offense. After getting a decent sample size of game film on the Wildcat offense, NFL teams quickly dismantled the gimmicky offense. Now the Dolphins are stuck in mediocrity looking for a way out. That is exactly where the Broncos are headed.

All one has to do is look at the last 5 games Denver played. They went 1-4, including blowout losses to New England and Buffalo. And they could only must 3 points against KC when they were fighting for the division title.

Looking ahead to next season it is unlikely the Broncos will be as fortunate in facing teams when they’re down. And the schedule will be much more difficult. Next season they will be playing the Steelers, Texans, Saints, Ravens, Patriots, and Falcons. They will also be facing to legitimate QBs of the future when the travel to Cincinnati and Carolina.

Expect nothing less than a dramatic crash back down to Earth for Tim Tebow, the Broncos, and their fans next season. The NFL will be ready for their offensive schemes, and they will face some tough competition next season. It will be time to start scouting the QBs in the 2013 draft by November next season.

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