No player in the NFL splits opinion like Tim Tebow. The Broncos quarterback is generally regarded as one of the best college players ever, but with his questionable throwing mechanics, few envisioned a successful career for the young talent. Tebow was expected to fall into the third round and beyond in the NFL Draft, but the Denver Broncos surprised everyone by selecting Tebow as the 25th overall pick in the 2010 Draft.
Tebow started the last three games of 2010 and put up some impressive rushing numbers as he proved his mobility and game winning ability. The quarterback was replaced by Kyle Orton at the start of the season, but as Orton struggled, the calls for Tebow to start grew louder.
The management listened to the fans and started Tim Tebow against the struggling Miami Dolphins. For three and a half quarters, Tebow was awful. He completed a mere four of his 14 pass attempts for 40 yards and did not look like an NFL quarterback. Tebow then changed the game in the final minutes. He led touchdown drives of 80 and 54 yards as the Broncos became the first team to overcome a 15 point deficit with 2:44 remaining in NFL history. Tebow rushed in for a two point conversion to send the game to overtime, where Denver won with a Matt Prater field goal.
Tebow will continue to divide opinions. He undoubtedly has an ugly throwing style and questionable mechanics, but his will to win might lead the Broncos to some exciting victories victories in the coming years. Only time will tell.
Jets Bounce Back
The New York Jets may have stayed in contention in the AFC East after a gritty comeback against the San Diego Chargers. Rex Ryan’s men trailed 21-10 at the break, but 112 rushing yards from Shonn Greene, three receiving touchdowns from Plaxico Burress and two interceptions from the Jets defense allowed New York to claim an important 27-21 victory.
Flacco Inconsistency Hurts Ravens
The Ravens have some of the crucial components of a Super Bowl winning team, including a suffocating defence and game-breaking running back. Without big improvement from Joe Flacco, however, Baltimore will find it difficult to compete with the league’s top teams.
Flacco has been a model of inconsistency this season. The quarterback has thrown for more than 300 yards twice, but failed to top 200 yards on three occasions. He threw seven touchdowns in the first three games of the season, but could only manage a solitary TD in the last three.
Monday was one of his poorer outings. Flacco could only compete 21 of 38 attempts for a mere 137 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Ray Rice, meanwhile, only ran for 28 yards and Baltimore did not manage a first down until the 5:26 mark in the third quarter. The result was a disappointing 12-7 loss for the Ravens against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars.
Colts Routed Again
The biggest rout of the weekend came in New Orelans, where the Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts 62-7. The Colts season continues to implode without Peyton Manning and the perennial contenders are now 0-7.
Drew Brees was in sensational form. The quarterback completed 31 of 35 passes for 325 yards and five touchdowns. Marques Colston was the main benefactor as he caught seven balls for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Jimmy Graham, who is the best tight end in the league at the moment, also caught two touchdowns, while Darren Sproles also caught a TD.
The strong defense continued for the second week in succession as only three quarterbacks passed 300 yard. The defenses may have caught up with offences after sensationally high scoring in the first five weeks.
The best defences in the league seem to have gathered in the AFC North. The four AFC North teams have conceded the least yards per game: Baltimore Ravens (272.2), Cincinnati Bengals (278.5), Pittsburgh Steelers (279.0) and Cleveland Browns (291.0). For the Steelers and Ravens that is no surprise, but the Bengals and Browns have impressed with their tough defensive play.
The Kansas City Chiefs produced the best defensive effort of the week, albeit against an Oakland Raiders team playing two struggling quarterbacks and missing star running back Darren McFadden, who was injured in the first quarter. Kyle Boller started and threw for 61 yards and three interceptions before being replaced by new signing Carson Palmer, who was traded for a king’s ransom last week. Palmer made little difference, only completing eight of 21 passes for 116 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions as the Chiefs won 28-0. Although the Raiders offense was inept, a lot of credit must go to the Kansas City defense. Six interceptions and a shutout is a terrific performance regardless of opposition.
A host of running backs were injured at the weekend. The biggest name was Darren McFadden, who should return in a few weeks. Tim Hightower and Earnest Graham were less lucky, however, and both were placed on injured reserve with season ending injuries.
The Detroit Lions will also have to sweat over the fitness of Matt Stafford, who injured his right ankle against the Atlanta Falcons. The quarterback struggled with injuries his first two seasons, but seemed to be finding his stride this season. The Lions have now lost consecutive games and sit at 5-2. A fit Stafford is crucial to their playoff hopes.