Before his first NFL start, in yesterday's game with the Oakland Raiders, quarterback Tim Tebow tweeted "Psalms 23:4." The popular passage reads: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
The Black Hole was once a tough place to play, but considering that the Raiders rank last in the league in attendance this season, it would hardly be considered the valley of the shadow of death. And Tebow appeared relatively comfortable. Within the first seven and a half minutes of the game he ran for a 40-yard touchdown and threw a touchdown from 33 yards out. He became just the third player in NFL history, and the first rookie, to have a TD run of 40+ yards and a TD pass of 30+ yards in the same game.
Starting Tebow made the previously boring and barely watchable Broncos intriguing for one Sunday. The University of Florida legend got the starting nod because the previous starter, Kyle Orton, had not practiced all week because of bruised ribs.
The play-calling for Tebow was conservative and his passing numbers, 8 for 16 for 138 yards with one TD, were modest. He also added 78 rushing yards. If Raiders' cornerback Stanford Routt could catch, Tebow's touchdown would have been an interception. But his lack of mistakes and the Raiders' generosity -- three first-half turnovers -- kept the game close.
The Donkeys were actually within seven points with about eight minutes to go in the game. But then, with the ball on their own two-yard-line, the Broncos went all Broncos. Correll Buckhalter was tackled in the end zone for a safety. The Raiders drew a personal foul penalty for a late hit on the ensuing kick return, setting them up with excellent field position. A few minutes later Michael Bush punched in the touchdown that put the game out of reach.
For all the excitement surrounding Tebow's debut, he can't take the suck out of the rest of the team. Oakland's first play from scrimmage was a 71-yard end-around for a touchdown by Jacoby Ford. On Marcel Reese's 73-yard screen-pass touchdown, Broncos safety David Bruton gave a clinic on how to appear completely un-athletic and blow an open-field tackle. Denver gave up 264 rushing yards.
Final score? Raiders 39, Broncos 23.
Still, the possibility of Tebow starting the rest of the season gives fans a reason to care -- and not drink until they forget what football is. And following him on Twitter may allow fans to also skip church.
Back in May, Michael Roberts argued for the Broncos to start Tim Tebow in the first game. Read it here.
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