Wednesday, January 11, 2012

You can't have a Wild Card Weekend without Tebow

It was about 4:30 in the afternoon on the Sunday of a Wild Card weekend that had been anything but wild. The Texans blew the doors off of the inexperienced Bengals. The Saints used their playoff savvy and Brees factor to TKO the young Lions. And the Falcons put up no fight against the Giants who steamrolled them to an easy win. Three wild card teams had been eliminated.

Little did everyone know, things were about to get a bit wild.

Of course, it was time for the Broncos to play. Time for the world to watch.

Tim Tebow had just gone through a rough stretch. He lost three straight, and despite getting his team into the playoffs, was being considered for a demotion. Maybe Brady Quinn could help.

I thought to myself, “Yeah, maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad idea?”

Quinn could split time with Tebow or spell him if he was either tired or not producing. Maybe there was a game plan that Tebow could really succeed in.

Turns out there was one: Tebow playing like a normal quarterback.

The first quarter looked ugly. Despite holding the Steelers to two fields goals, Denver’s offense was stuck in the mud. Tebow had yet to throw a completion. All seemed a bit lost.

And then Tebow sailed a beautifully gift wrapped pigskin right into the breadbasket of Demaryius Thomas for 51 yards. Shortly after, a perfectly thrown bullet to Eddie Royal in the end zone gave Denver the lead.

He did it again when he tossed a deep ball to Daniel Fells and then ran in a touchdown himself. Could the Broncos really keep this up?

As the game went on, Pittsburgh started to get some of their mojo back. Denver collected a few fields goals, but the Steelers tied it up when Roethlisberger sent a beautiful dart to ex-Jet wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery.

Eventually, the Broncos would have to punt the ball back to the Steelers with under two minutes remaining. This was Roethlisberger’s time. This is what he does. It’s over, I thought. I’ve wrongly said that too often in Bronco games.

The Denver defense came up with some key stops, including sacking Roethlisberger twice. Then it was off to overtime, and the new overtime rules.

I had gone out to dinner with my girlfriend that night, and when regulation had ended, we got out of my car (that had the game on the radio) to go eat. After spending ten minutes struggling to get a parking pass, we entered the restaurant to see Tebow’s angelic pass to Thomas.

Game over.

It was truly an amazing sight. An 80-yard touchdown to end the game. It seemed just like a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the tenth. And behind the whole act was Tebow, who had been tossing the ball deep all day like it was his job. Because it is his job.

You may not be able to explain Tebow or even understand how he does what he does, but you must respect him. He has the whole world buzzing and is leading an overachieving team on an improbably run this year. He had beaten the odds his entire life and is beating them this year with the Broncos.

So finally, we got to see just how wild Wild Card weekend could be. A monstrous upset fueled by an unforgettable pass and led by a quarterback who would accept nothing less than a win.

But if you really think about it, the Broncos were the home team, while the Steelers were the wild card. Also Tebow has been doing this all season. We’ve grown accustomed to it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, was it really so wild?

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