Posted Tue Oct 4th by Monty
Six observations from Sunday’s 23-49 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
1. John Fox kept Tim Tebow sidelined in the fourth quarter, with the game out of hand, and it made it absolutely no sense.
The Denver Broncos, down 49-17 with 7:46 left in the game, were not coming back from a 32-point deficit. Any hope of Kyle Orton lifting the team on its shoulders and delivering a comeback win with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter was out the window.
Yet there head coach John Fox went, trotting out his Best Chance to Win when there was No Chance. Meanwhile, Tim Tebow, potential franchise quarterback in dire need of some real-game snaps in Fox’s system, sat on the sideline, likely staring intently at a clipboard.
I’m not saying Tebow should be the starter. I’m just not there yet, folks. I’ve seen the kid practice and I’ve seen him in the preseason. I see “potential” (and that only sometimes). I don’t see “production.”
But that is exactly why the fourth quarter against Green Bay provided the perfect, disappointingly unused opportunity to see if one “p” could become the other. Even Packers fans were chanting “TE-BOW!”, for crying out loud.
Fox’s hilarious explanation after the game was that Orton needed more reps. “We need our starting quarterback to get experience for us to improve,” Fox said. “That’s the idea behind that. You know he needs to get better in our system.”
You know who else needed to get better in your system? Andre Goodman, Cassius Vaughn, Brian Dawkins, and Rahim Moore. The Broncos secondary was abused. Yet that didn’t give you pause when were you trotting out Chris Clark and other backup DB’s with the game out of line.
John Fox showed a willingness to invest game action in the development of his young defensive backs. He was not willing to make any such investment in Tim Tebow. One wonders why.
2. Orton’s pick-six was really the turning point of the game
Don’t tell me that Kyle Orton’s three interceptions cost the Broncos the game, because the last two were more or less meaningless. You take chances when you’re down by 20 in the fourth quarter you wouldn’t otherwise. Am I excusing those picks? No. I’m simply countering the mass’s argument before it gets there.
But you can tell me, and I’d agree, that his first interception was brutal, and a game-changer.
The Broncos had a bit of momentum before Orton’s underthrown ball was jumped by 2008 Defensive MVP Charles Woodson and returned 30 yards for a touchdown. It’s true that Aaron Rodgers had just hit Jordy Nelson for a 50-yard touchdown, but before that, the Broncos had a fourth-down stop and a long field goal drive of their own. They were still clearly in the game.
Orton’s pick-six changed the game’s entire dynamic. The Packers’ surprise onside kick that followed was a brilliant, aggressive move by Mike McCarthy to knock the wind out of Denver’s sails, and it worked. They were down 21-3 in what felt like an instant.
I was happy to see the Broncos claw their way back from that. They fought back to 21-17 with two minutes until the half. But then Rodgers sandwiched halftime with touchdown scores, and the Broncos were down 35-17 when the offense got the ball again. The game had gotten out of line.
Fox said he was also glad to see his team fight back through that initial fire.
“Our offense got off to a rough start as did all the Broncos, but our team fought back to make it 21-17,” said Fox. “Two drives, and only one play on offense later, it was an intentional kneel down and it’s 35-17.”
If Orton doesn’t throw that first quarter flop, maybe things don’t get out of line in the first place.
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