Neither the statistics nor the production nor the results can be denied at this point. The fact of the matter is that something special happens to Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow when the fourth quarter rolls around.
|2011 Statistics||Quarters 1-3||4th Quarter / OT|
|Comp./Att. (%)||43/111 (38.7%)||53/87 (60.9%)|
|P-TD / INT||5 / 1||6 / 1|
|Att. / Rush Yards||53 / 301||41 / 216|
Not only is Tebow more productive near the end of games, he is more efficient and makes the most out of every opportunity he touches the ball because he realizes there are limited chances remaining to pull out a victory.
That is one reason why five of Tebow’s seven wins in 2011 have come via late fourth-quarter comebacks (three were completed in overtime).
However, there are other factors at play here. Tebow’s numbers are also higher later in games because head coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy are giving him the opportunity to be more productive through the air by going away from their run-first game plan and calling more passes.
Tebow has thrown the ball 80 times in the fourth quarter this year compared to just 111 through the first three. In other words, more passing plays are being called for Tebow in the final 15 minutes than in any other 30-minute stretch of a game.
The abundance of passing plays being called late in games is allowing Tebow to find a groove that he is seemingly unable to establish earlier partially due to the concentrated run effort. He usually starts by completing some short passes and dump offs (taking advantage of the prevent defense) before spreading teams out and throwing down the field for long completions and the occasional bomb.
Denver takes on New England next week, a team that features the worst passing defense in the league (310.0 yards per game) and the 10th-best rushing defense (102.1 yards per game). Considering QB Tom Brady has led his team to 30+ points in each of the last five games (and in 10 of 13 contests this year), Tebow’s best chance at succeeding on Sunday may be to throw early and often.
Should Fox agree and Tebow deliver another performance like he did against Minnesota in Week 13, “Tebow time” could start earlier and last longer than the final 15 minutes.
Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger