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Published on 12/05/2011 at Mon Dec 05 08:37.
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Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos warms up pregame against the Minnesota Vikings at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on December 4, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Adam Bettcher /Getty Images)

Tim Tebow‘s ability to reinvent himself at the end of football games is well documented at this point. Whether it was a 15-yard furious comeback against the Miami Dolphins in the final three minutes of a near shutout or a 95-yard game-winning drive in the game’s final minutes against the New York Jets, Tebow has proven time and time again that he can deliver in the clutch.

This Sunday was no different. Bolstered by impressive performances by Andre Goodman and Matt Prater, Tebow led the Broncos to three game-tying or game-winning drives in the fourth quarter of Denver’s 35-32 win in Minnesota Sunday. A half of some truly offensive offense was forgotten and forgiven as Tebow hit Demaryius Thomas for two touchdowns and ran in a game-tying two point conversion in the game’s third and fourth quarters.

Andrew Mason of broke down the first half vs. second half numbers, which paint a picture of offensive ineptitude vs. offensive domination.

1: Number of first downs the Broncos gained in the first half Sunday.

12: Number of first downs the Broncos gained in the second half.

48: Denver’s total yardage in the first half.

288: Denver’s total yardage in the second half.

2.53: The Broncos’ average yardage per play in the first half.

9.60: The Broncos’ average yardage per play in the second half.

8:54: Time of possession for Denver in the first half.

13:15: Time of possession for Denver in the second half.

0: Offensive points for Denver in the first half Sunday.

25: Offensive points in the second half.

Those are remarkable differences. It makes one wonder why the Broncos offense can’t gel in the game’s opening two quarters. Is there a warming up period for Tim Tebow’s magic? Is it simply unavailable until the quarterback has reached a certain threshold?

It boggles the mind. It is becoming the stuff of legend.

Of course we can’t just blame Tebow, or even the Broncos offense as a whole, for that putrid first half output. We’d be remiss not to give the Vikings credit for their impressive defensive efforts in the first half. Not recognizing that also belittles the remarkable manner in which offensive coordinator Mike McCoy made halftime adjustments for the Broncos. They came out of that locker room at halftime with a purpose.

Still, the question remains: can Tim Tebow deliver for four quarters? If the Broncos do continue to win and get into the playoffs, will they be able to remain competitive with the league’s elite? In the playoffs, even as good as Tebow has played in the games’ final quarters, five or even 30 minutes of good football probably won’t be enough.

  • Anonymous

    The difference was pretty simple, they quit running on every 3rd down in the second half and they mixed in a couple of 1st down passes too.

    Hopefully McCoy takes the second half play calling into next game because we will need it against a great Bears defense that is going to be fighting for their life.

    Major props to DT for the TD’s too! It was great seeing him out there making plays. Let’s hope the TT to DT connection continues to grow strong over the next month!

  • johnny

    McCoy is a fine person I’m sure, I just don’t think he’s the coach for Denver’s offense. I know he’s trying to take it slow with T2 but he doesn’t seem to know how to use him effectively.  Basically the offense is succeeding in spite of McCoy not because of.

  • areferee

    Notwithstanding the latent pessimism above, we stand one game away from undisputed first place in the division without benefit of a tie-breaker as we look at the Cutler-less Bears while the Raiders enter the Rodgers-led Wisconsin juggernaut.

    The bottom line to the orange and blue season is that Bronco fans, like Kyle and all of the rest of us DARE to mention the “P” word and are mentioning “the NFL elite” and the Broncos in the same sentence.

    Considering where we were after the previous administration and our opening 5 game nightmare, why are we still searching for some negative end to what has become a “Cinderella” season?

    We are on the threshold of a totally remarkable season by ANY measure, and the REAL possibility of winning at least 3 of our remaining 4 games and a division championship and the fruits of an extended season.  Why isn’t that enough?

    Unless we are all narcissists, I don’t understand continued skepticism.  Even razor’s-edge scrutiny doesn’t allow for such agnosticism.

    Keep the Faith, Baby!

  • Jon

    I’m scared to say the “P” word until we’ve clinched it.

  • areferee

    Consider the following as per Woody Paige and The Denver Post:

    {A major reason the beginnings are slower than a Stieg Larsson novel (with endings as thrilling as a Stieg Larsson novel) is the Broncos don’t know how opposing defenses will choose to defend them. Because the Broncos’ offense is unique for the NFL, “we can’t watch teams’ tapes against it,” Coach John Fox said. “We have to make adjustments after we see what they’re going to do.”}

  • Anonymous

    A lot of people are probably just burned out a bit. It was rough with Shanahan the last few years as the wheels always fell off right at the end, then we get McD who has us at 6-0 before the wheels fell off. 

    Every year for quite some time we have seen our hopes get crushed right at the end. Now we are running an offense that just doesn’t feel quite right. The play calling has gotten the job done but it feels as though the coaches are simply outhinking themselves and trying so desperately not to lose on offense that they aren’t going after the W until they are absolutely forced into doing so.

    Believe me though, nobody is more excited for the upcoming test. If we can put 24+ offensive points on the board against the Bears, we can put up 30+ on New England (and we will have too unless Gronkowski and Hernandez fall off a cliff).

    One thing I do know is that this team is going to fight every inch of the way. No matter what happens in these final four games, it’s a proud day to be a Bronco fan!

  • Anonymous

    That certainly makes more sense than nobody knows how to coach saint Timmy.

  • flbronc

    don’t we script the first 12 plays? those could be how we see how the defense reacts in certain situations.

    i certainly give mccoy credit.  he’s learning on the fly, and has certainly made some very good half time adjustments to this point.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah I don’t buy that for 1 second. The reason it’s slow is because they run on 90% of the 3rd downs. Even 3rd and 5 is being ran on. 

  • Anonymous

    The question isn’t why are they running on 3rd and 5. The question is, why is it 3rd and 5?

    1st down, run. 2nd down, incomplete pass. 3rd down, run.

    That’s gotta change up, for sure.

  • Honeamichael

    I think its more like Fox said yesterday, they have no idea on how defenses are going to play them because they have no film on how they will react/try to stop Tebow. They kind out in the first half and adjust in the second half.

  • Shanah4

    The skepticism is easily explained…….. fourth quarter comebacks. Playing to the ability of the competition as opposed to dominating the competition. Want to believe but ready to except the let down. That said you should write a book I think I would find it entertaining! 

  • Mack

    You have Great Potential in the whole team, as T.T. continues to get better @ the things he needs to improve at/in, WOW. Go back, and look at how he led the Gators through a then undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats team. He’s a Natural with an Unorthodox Style. Most left handers are. A great Combonation in Any sport.

  • Noskills07

    Some of these people on here are complaining about how we run…run… and run? Why? Why would you complain about this? Were you guys complaining when Willis ran for a 23-yard touchdown yesterday? This is called “ground and pound” football and we just make the opposing team tired, so in that 2nd half which has shown time in and time out that its working. That touchdown by Willis yesterday, last weeks run in OT vs San Diego and the Raiders game for sure proved this system is working. So when they run it on “3rd and five” in the 1st half stop complaining and sooner than later they will be breaking those tackles in the 1st half to. Stop crying and trying to predict and analyze this and enjoy “good football” for once as its been missing for it seems like a long time as a bronco fan.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed! Although 2nd down has been a run about 80% of the time too. Maybe this last week will get the coaches to throw a bit more so Tebow can find some rhythm early in the game and as you pointed out, we can stay out of 3rd and 5 altogether!

  • Rlittle

    Running the ball is good, but what is more effective for wearing down a team…

    Option 1:  3 runs for a 3 and out
    Option 2:  Mix in runs and throws (not just throwing on freaken 3rd and long) in order to get MORE first downs

    If you pick up more first downs, it doesn’t matter if you don’t run as often BECAUSE you will get more plays!!!  3 runs for a 3 and out wears down the defense much LESS than 7 runs and 4 passes.  Defenses don’t get worn down by 3 and outs.

  • Rlittle

    PS, Minnesota didn’t look worn down till the Denver offense started running and throwing.

    BTW, I’m super happy to be watching some winning football for the firt time in a long time!!!  Our defense and special teams has been amazing lately (execpt our 3rd down pressure was horrid yesterday without Miller)!

  • Noskills07

    Your right that we have had some three and outs and what not but let me say this… 1st I would rather have a 2nd and 7 or a 3rd and 4 instead of a 2nd an 10 or a 3rd and 8… 3rd and 4 or 5 and a run could be bad but I think your missing the point which I explained in the last comment is the defense does get worn down, maybe not so much physically but mentally – tebow even says it, they have to know there gaps and always know whats going on to stop it and that has shown the opposing team does break down. Also, I am not a guy that says much on these blogs but I do read it a lot and people on here compare to how bad it was when orton was playing… one reason it was so bad (mostly speaking of the past years) was because we threw the ball.. ya I know you want it mixed up and believe me I truly have always thought and believed tebow can throw, if anything me and my pops think the only thing he needs to do is not sling it so hard every time, other than that I know the kid can pass… but going back to the whole point is run, run, run is not hurting us and is showing that slowly throughout each game it works… and next thing you know 40 yard pass deep :) be happy and lets just enjoy

  • E. Halsey Miles

    Skepticism is natural.

    To anyone who likes statistics, when you see a statistical outlier (such as the highly unusual volume of fourth quarter comebacks), one of two things is nearly always true:

    1) There is something that your data is not representing that makes that statistic not an outlier.

    2) It is merely an artifact of small sample size and with a larger sample size will tend to disappear.

    The skepticism comes because we want it to be #1 but it’s much more likely to be #2, just in terms of sheer probability.

  • E. Halsey Miles

    EDIT: Screw you, disqus, for not liking HTML.

    In the Minnesota game, every 3rd down play the Broncos ran:

    First Quarter

    o 3-9-MIN 49 (7:24) (Shotgun) T.Tebow pass short right to E.Royal to MIN 42 for 7 yards (B.Sapp).
    o 3-2-DEN 28 (:09) (Shotgun) T.Tebow right tackle to DEN 29 for 1 yard (J.Sanford)

    Second Quarter
    o 3-4-DEN 27 (11:53) (Shotgun) T.Tebow pass short middle to L.Ball to DEN 33 for 6 yards (B.Sapp).
    o 3-4-DEN 39 (10:07) (Shotgun) PENALTY on DEN-O.Franklin, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at DEN 39 – No Play.3-9-DEN 34 (9:46) (Shotgun) T.Tebow pass short left to D.Thomas pushed ob at DEN 45 for 11 yards (C.Griffin).Minnesota challenged the pass completion ruling, and the play was REVERSED.(Shotgun) T.Tebow pass incomplete short left to D.Thomas
    o 3-19-DEN 12 (2:18) (Shotgun) T.Tebow pass short left to L.Ball to DEN 20 for 8 yards (B.Sapp) [J.Allen].

    Third Quarter
    o 3-1-MIN 27 (12:37) L.Ball up the middle to MIN 22 for 5 yards (E.Henderson; C.Greenway). MIN-B.Robison was injured during the play. His return is Probable.
    o 3-9-MIN 21 (11:24) (Shotgun) T.Tebow pass deep left to D.Thomas for 21 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
    o 3-1-DEN 31 (7:24) W.McGahee right guard to DEN 31 for no gain (E.Henderson)

    Fourth Quarter
    o 3-12-DEN 37 (12:30) (Shotgun) T.Tebow pass short right to M.Willis to DEN 43 for 6 yards (EJ.Henderson).
    o 3-10-MIN 28 (1:44) (Shotgun) T.Tebow pass incomplete deep left to D.Thomas
    o 3-3-MIN 3 (:13) T.Tebow left guard to MIN 5 for -2 yards (E.Henderson). DEN-R.Clady was injured during the play. His return
    is Probable

    The play transcript does not support your hypothesis.

  • King

    I agree.  But, I’m happy that we are even thinking about playoffs after the hole we started with.

  • Rlittle

    I agree 100% that we should run the ball…if I had to choose between last year’s play calling and this year I would choose run run run run run run all day long over pass pass pass pass pass. 

    I think my complaint is that we need to mix in more throws to make our run more effective and to sustatin drives.  If we sustain drives like I alluded to, we can run the ball even MORE even if we don’t run the ball 70% of the time.  The fallicy of some people is saying “running” the ball to wear a team down means you have to have  a REALLy high percentage of runs.  What wears teams down mentally AND physically is sustaining drives that include running.

    So I agree, run the ball a lot!!!  I like that! However, I sitll have one main beef with your conclusion on “tebow even says it, they have to know there gaps and always know whats going on to stop it and that has shown the opposing team does break down. “  Tebow has said this repeatedly in reference to the OPTION and mixing up the play calling…Tebow has been saying the option and his ability to run makes the defenses play honest.  Tebow is NOT talking about running the ball ALMOST EVERY 1st down in the first half.  Except for Tebow’s first throw of the game (almost always horrid), Tebow has made good/decent throws in the first half when we throw on first down BECAUSE the defense isn’t expecting it….so far our play calling is almost always run on first down. 

  • Rlittle

    Sorry, I didn’t finish my thought (my computer battery was dying so I posted just in case I didn’t get my charger in time).

    Why do we wait till the 3rd quarter on to catch the defenses off guard with a pass?  They are stacking the line in the begining of the game too!!!!!!

    My point is Tebow loves the offense because it CAN be unpredictable and CAN force teams to play the gap responsibility.  However, our play calling is HORRIBLY predictable in the 1st half/first 3 quarters.  If we throw in some more throws on early downs, we can STILL catch the defense off guard from time to time AND they will have to be more honest on the run.  We don’t have to wait till late in the game to attack a defenses weaknesses.  Within a few plays of the game, you can tell the defenses are loading the box.

    If you don’t agree with mixing up passes and runs more (which is totally valid), then look at the first drive of the Jets game and all the last few drives of the Broncos games.  The more we mix up running and passing on early downs, the more success we have.  

  • NWO

    Trying to get “Pro-Style” coaches in the NFL to scheme an offense based on what is going on in the college ranks is starting to become more of an inevitability. T2 may be breaking the mold. Frankly watching track stars run down the field to catch passes from “elite” quarterbacks is more of a video game. The NFL is mired in mediocrity and a return to “Football” would be nice. Unfortunately all the rule changes to favor the passing game-to increase the entertainment value – has made for a lot of lousy games.

  • Noskills07

    I agree with NWO and towards Rlittle and the whole mixing it up, I am for it and it will happen but I am sorry we are sticking to the run and that’s it… it will happen just give it time. And also a side note to the video game reference, Madden 09 you could lob the ball up every play and complete it since then Madden has made it to where you have to run the ball to win mostly < maybe the video game is giving a hint to every coach in the nfl besides us that get the picture… you HAVE to have three things in playoff games… Heart! Good D! and Run! Broncos didn't win a Superbowl mainly on elways arm I know none of us forgot about TD. We are right there

  • Erazo362

    Well I would like to ask a question. yesterday he had the best QB rateing of all. Yes there is room for improvement, but cut the man and the coaches a brake. Where do you people get off on saying such things?

  • Anonymous

    It appears so on the Minnesota game since on the 3 plays of 3 & 5 or less in the first half they passed twice, but look at the other 6 games and let’s see the 3rd down numbers.

  • Anonymous

    Actually I just glanced at the Jets and SD game and I have to eat some crow as they only ran on approx 50% of the 3rd and short plays. However, the running plays did seem to extend to 3rd and 6 which is still a drive killing problem.