Jussel: Heroics push Broncos fans to be believers in Tim Tebow

With just more than 5 minutes remaining in last Sunday’s NFL broadcast from Miami, I looked at favorite grandson Cody and favorite mutt Shilo and said, “Come on, you two. We’re heading outside for a walk.”

I was disgusted with the Worldwide Tim Tebow Premier. It had been nothing like the previews and high expectations had been dashed. Cody and Shilo were bored.

As I readied for the great outdoors, wife Julie suggested that I record the rest of the game. Somewhat grudgingly, I spent 30 seconds setting the recorder and exited from almost 3 hours of misery.

About 45 minutes later, our wandering party returned to another suggestion: “You might want to watch the rest of the game,” Julie said.

I watched.

I’ve only seen a few things like it: Doug Flutie of Boston College hitting a ‘Hail Mary’ against Miami; Kordell Stewart of Colorado doing the same against Michigan; New York Giants quarterback Joe Piscarcik fumbling the final handoff of the game in a kneel-down situation that was picked up and returned (by no less than Herm Edwards) for a winning TD by the Philadelphia Eagles; DeSean Jackson of a different edition of the Eagles returning a punt on the final play of a tie game to beat the Giants, the only time in NFL history a punt return won a game on the final play.

There are a few more miraculous finishes to be sure, but not many.

The Broncos needed not one miracle, but five by my count — in the final minutes and the overtime — to beat the hapless Miami Dolphins in a game in which the leading man had stunk up the joint for the first 57 minutes.

To be fair to Tebow, his rotten effort for most of the game was in no small part because of play selection. Handoff left, handoff right, then try to complete a pass to the outside where it would be difficult to intercept. It was overkill in trying to protect Timmy’s psyche — a conservative game plan that somehow took two weeks to develop.

Denver couldn’t score because as one statistician pointed out, the Broncos averaged 7 inches per pass play through most of three quarters.

With just more than 5 minutes remaining in the game, Tebow was 4 for 14 for 40 yards and Denver was zip for 10 on third-down conversions.

Only in the final two minutes did Tebow have the freedom to do what he does best — put defenses in situations they don’t normally see.

And only then did he shine.

His two TD passes and run for the tying 2-point conversion in the final 2:44 were the things of legend, if not exactly enough to convince those in charge of calling plays.

Again, after Denver recovered a forced Miami fumble at the Dolphin 35 in overtime, the conservation program reared its ugly head: three straight plunges that netted one yard and total dependence on a 52-yard field goal from Matt Prater, who had already missed two easier shots.

Luckily, Prater hit a little fade shot that moved left to right and Tebow and the Broncos had pulled off The Great Escape from Miami and Win No. 1 in his nine-game audition for the part of Denver Bronco Savior.

Game Two of the audition comes today at New Mile High against Detroit, a team that started 5-0 but dropped its past two at home.

The Lions will provide many more answers to the Tebow question than did the Dolphins. They have a fearsome defensive front and the young QB will obviously be harried.

Hello. Isn’t this the type of thing he is made for?

In rushes the Lion front four and out goes Tebow to the left, to the right, up the middle, wherever. Tebow is never — repeat, never — going to be at or near the league lead in completion percentage. If you check back, neither was John Elway.

Tebow is going to be making bad plays in 10 years, followed by great plays. That is who he is. I don’t know if he will ever come close to Elway in terms of production. Anything that resembles the former Bronco superstar will be a huge plus.

What I do know is this: I will not go for a hike again when he is in the game and the Broncos are within a few miracles of winning.

As for today, our fairy tale continues.

My record is 4-2 picking with or against Denver. I say the Broncos beat a banged-up Lions team, 24-21 ... on a last-second 66-yard Prater field goal after Tebow has revived Denver from a 21-0 deficit.

Rick Jussel is the former sports editor of The Daily Sentinel. Email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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