The Denver Broncos faithful have been waiting, hoping and – yes – praying for quarterback Tim Tebow to take the reins of their team this season.
With the Broncos sporting a 1-3 record and losing 23-10 to the San Diego Chargers at halftime on Sunday, they finally got their wish.
Tebow entered Sunday’s contest for a two-yard rush earlier in the game but took over for veteran QB Kyle Orton in the third quarter. At that point, Denver’s sole touchdown was a result of an interception return that occurred in the first quarter.
He came in after Orton had completed just 6-of-13 passes for 34 yards with an interception and started slow but eventually changed the complexion of the game.
Tebow was 1-for-5 on his first three drives; two of them went three-and-out and all three ended with a punt. Denver got the ball back at midfield with 8:34 remaining in the game, and that is when Tebow began leading the comeback.
After running back Willis McGahee hit a hole for 28 yards, Tebow avoided a pass rush on the next play and scrambled for 11 yards. He then took a designed draw up the middle 12 yards for a touchdown, and McGahee followed to score the two-point conversion.
The Broncos recovered a fumble on the ensuing possession, providing Tebow with another short field. He ran for eight yards on the first play and threw a screen pass on the third that RB Knowshon Moreno took 28 yards for a touchdown. Denver went for another two-point conversion to tie the game, but wide receiver Brondon Lloyd dropped a fade from Tebow that hit him in the hands.
San Diego ran out the clock and hit a field goal after that, and Denver started out at their own 20 with just 24 seconds left in the game. Tebow responded by completing consecutive passes of 20 (a redemption grab by Lloyd) and 31 yards to lead the Broncos down to the Chargers’ 29-yard-line with one second to go.
Taking the final snap of the afternoon, Tebow scanned the field for an open receiver, scrambled for five seconds (avoiding three sacks) and threw an incompletion into the end zone to conclude the game. The home crowd chanted “Tebow, Tebow” after the incomplete pass as he was interviewed on the field afterward.
He finished having completed just 4-of-10 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown (for a QB rating of 101.7) but also carried the ball for 38 yards and another score.
Tebow has now thrown and rushed for a touchdown in all five NFL games in which he has attempted at least two passes (three starts).
Denver has a bye next week and will play its next game on the road against the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 23. Miami has decided to honor the Florida Gators 2009 BCS National Championship team that day with a special on-field ceremony. Former Florida head coach Urban Meyer and a number of former Gators players will be in attendance.
Photo Credit: Joe Mahoney/Associated Press