Okay, so you knew this week's Broncos-Lions game wouldn't turn into a homegrown version of the Miami miracle. But did you thinks it would be as bad as the 45-10 debacle that took place yesterday? If so, you're either a hellbound heathen or an astute observer of the NFL. But one thing's for sure: Tim Tebow's not going to become a first-rate quarterback based on the power of prayer alone.
In Miami, Tebow was consistently awful until the last five minutes of the contest. Yesterday, he got most of his impressive play out of the way in the first five. During the Broncos' initial drive, he looked sharp and in control, running well and, for the most part, throwing with precision. Indeed, the person with the suspect footwork on a should-have-been touchdown chuck to Eric Decker wasn't The Chosen One, whose throwing motion finds him taking the sort of oversized steps favored by kids trying not to step on sidewalk cracks, but the typically superlative Decker, who would have registered a TD had he added an extra toe-tap.
After the subsequent Matt Prater three-pointer, though, the Broncos offense became offensive in the most noxious sense.
Tebow defenders will place the blame on the game plan, and there's something to that. The coaching staff took additional steps to design plays with Tebow's skill-set in mind, but the plethora of designed runs were mostly unimaginative, and he wasn't allowed to roll out in run-pass options often enough. On third down, moreover, he was consistently asked to drop straight back and pass like a standard-issue hurler, which he clearly is not.
Then again, it shouldn't be too much to ask that Tebow be able to complete a toss in that configuration -- and over and over again, he proved unable to do so. Third and six might as well have been third and 99 due to his dubious accuracy -- overthrows and underthrows were the rule, not the exception -- and propensity to transform happy feet into sad results. The Lions' defensive focus on stopping the run and forcing Tebow to use the airways was simplicity itself, but it left him absolutely flummoxed time and time again. No wonder Lions defenders took such delight in using the Tebowing trend to figuratively run his nose in the dirt as they literally did when sacking him a whopping seven times.
Oh yeah: There was also a third-quarter Tebow fumble that resulted in a Lions' touchdown, and Chris Houston's 100-yard fourth-quarter pick-six. But by the latter, most Broncos fans were probably too drunk to notice, or else they'd gone into their room to lash themselves with a knotted whip as personal punishment for unkind thoughts.
Where do the Broncos go from here? Well, they could toss out more of the Kyle Orton-era playbook and add extra college-friendly wrinkles -- perhaps even some option. But until Tebow proves he can consistently hit receivers downfield, teams will keep loading up the box and bringing the house, just as the Lions did yesterday.
Which raises a religious question of sorts: How many blowouts will it take for Tebow believers to lose their faith?
Look below for "slowlights" from the game assembled by a Lions fan, to prolong the agony.
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More from our Sports archive: "Tebowing: Will Tim Tebow's kneeling-in-prayer pose become next Mile High Salute? (PHOTOS)."
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