Jussel: Tebow can keep magic going vs. Pats
I swear I will not obsess over Tim Tebow.
Did you know that on Tuesday and Wednesday, the most searched word or phrase on the web was Tim Tebow? The second-most searched word was Tebow. The fifth-most searched was Denver Broncos.
This Tebow thing is indeed something we should be getting tired of, perhaps more than a bit annoyed. Are you tired or annoyed? I’m not.
Quite simply, the Broncos and their unorthodox QB are THE story in the world of sport and we should be reveling in it.
I have been a sports fan as long as I can remember — back into the mid-1950s when Willie and Mickey were THE heroes and Johnny Unitas was just a newcomer to the nation’s sports pages.
The creation of the Denver Broncos and the new American Football League in 1959 rates as one of the highlights of my lifetime. The trade for John Elway in 1983 and the resulting two Super Bowl titles, Patrick Roy and two Stanley Cups for the Avalanche and the Rocktober run to the World Series by the 2007 Rockies are items already checked on my bucket list — exciting events all.
But I have never seen anything that resembles what is going on now with the Denver Broncos. It is just pure, unadulterated pleasure.
If you think back to the way this season started for the Broncos, you will remember worrying about whether the Broncos would nudge out the Indianapolis Colts for the rights to draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the No. 1 selection in the draft.
Then Tebow happened.
No one could have forecast or scripted what has happened since: New kid on the block takes over, teammates respond wholeheartedly. It’s “Angels in the Outfield” football-style, one miracle on top of another, each seemingly greater than the last.
When does this fantasy end?
Heaven only knows.
Today is yet another test of faith. The New England Patriots are due into New Mile High.
They have Tom Brady at quarterback. You may have heard of him.
They have Wes Welker in the slot. He’s the guy who catches roughly 10 passes each quarter.
They have monster tight end Rob Gronkowski, the 6-foot-7 middle-of-the-field demon who catches every ball Welker does not.
They have Bill Belichick minding the store. He’s the one who runs around with the genius tag on his dull gray hoodie.
They are also 10-3, having won five in a row.
The Broncos have them right where they want them.
Let’s look at how New England gets to 10-3. They do it with offense, with Brady maybe the best QB ever at picking up the blitz and finding open receivers. For the most part, they eschew the run, using it only sporadically to keep defensive front sevens relatively honest.
The Patriots have rightfully earned their reputation as one of the league’s best.
However, their defense is terrible — and the reason Denver will win this game today.
New England ranks last in the league in yards allowed, giving up 416 yards per game. In their past three games, they have given up 463 yards, 437 and 466. They have also made a habit of allowing the opposing team to control the ball for the vast majority of the game, which creates a tendency to wear down in the late going.
The Patriots are good early, bad late. The Broncos are bad early, very good late.
Let’s not get too depressed today when Denver falls behind. Patience and faith will be needed.
Think back to the teams that have beaten the Patriots most recently, the Steelers and the Giants. Each put a hurting on Brady without having to rush five or six guys. The teams that beat the Patriots beat the Patriots up.
What has Denver done recently? The Broncos have pressured and sacked quarterbacks with Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller relentless from the outside. They have controlled the ball. They have played field position and used their booming kicks — both place-kicks and punts — to the utmost advantage.
In comes a team that likes finesse, a team the Broncos can physically dominate.
Today, Mr. Tebow (note the new respect) and Willis McGahee will run the football virtually at will, option or no. Mr. Tebow will also be able to put the play-action pass into effect early and often.
Brady will get his — to the tune of the normal 30-plus points.
Broncos will get theirs as well.
Remember the shootout in Minnesota a few weeks back with Denver finishing with 35 points.
It happens again today.
I’ll take my 8-5 record picking with or against Denver and say the Broncos stun the Pats 38-35, this time with an NFL-record 72-yard field goal from Matt Prater as time expires.
What a story!