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Denver quarterback Tim Tebow

Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

Scoggins: Tebow's train keeps rolling down the line

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS
  • Star Tribune
  • December 5, 2011 - 12:10 PM

The celebration inside the Denver Broncos locker room was well underway when the final member of their traveling party jogged up the tunnel and through the door.

Tim Tebow's feet, as best we could tell, were firmly planted on the ground, though you half-expected to see him just kind of float by with angels singing and rays of sunshine in the background.

"He's a miracle-maker," receiver Eric Decker said.

How else do you explain what's happening here? This entire Tebowmania phenomenon no doubt added a few more believers after the most talked-about football player in the universe orchestrated yet another fourth-quarter rally, inspiring the Broncos to a 35-32 victory over the Vikings.

Seriously, that team was dead in the water after one of the worst displays of offense on record in the first half.

"I guess the man above is on our side," receiver Demaryius Thomas said.

And Tebow, too, which is strangely comforting for a team that suddenly is tied for first place in its division thanks in large part to a quarterback who generates no shortage of opinion because he doesn't fit the prescribed mold.

Tebow revealed a different side to his game Sunday. The quarterback who supposedly can't throw straight stood in the pocket and fired accurate passes. The guy who allegedly only wins grind-it-out, ugly affairs showed he can handle himself in a shootout as well.

He completed only six passes in the second half, but they resulted in 173 yards and two touchdowns, both to Thomas. Sure, Tebow's mechanics will never be used in an instructional video, but nothing he did in the second half looked unconventional or fluky. Just a guy making plays when his team needed it most.

"It doesn't matter what the score is or how good it looks because the reason we play is to win," Tebow said. "That's all that matters."

Tebow, by the way, is 6-1 as a starter, five of those victories coming on the road. He is a fascinating character. He's had holes drilled in his game by experts and armchair quarterbacks alike, but he just keeps winning. Nobody is quite sure what his long-term prospects are, but how can you argue with his record and the impact he's had on his team?

Love him or loathe him, it's impossible to turn away and not watch him. You want to see what he does next, see if he has another improbable comeback in him. Often described as a fullback playing quarterback, he looked like a competent pocket passer on Sunday.

"It's crazy," he said, smiling. "I just try and do whatever they ask of me."

Of course, it helps to have the Vikings secondary on the opposite side. Minnesota's defensive backs operated under the four-guys, four-cabs philosophy. Not only were the Vikings not on the same page, they weren't even in the same book.

But give Tebow credit. He took advantage of their communication breakdowns and poor play after a disastrous first half in which the Broncos managed one first down and 48 total yards.

"Our first five series were ridiculous," Tebow said.

So were their final five, except in a good way. Tebow connected with Thomas four times for 144 yards in the second half. Each of those completions came at critical junctures and were so deflating for the Vikings that defensive tackle Kevin Williams thought Tebow actually passed for 300 yards when he, in fact, finished with 202 yards on 15 attempts.

"I know I had a lot of help," Tebow said. "The offensive line did a great job and the receivers stepped up and made me look a lot better than I really am."

Maybe this whole Tebow thing is a rope-a-dope. Look as bad as humanly possible, lull the opponent into a false sense of security and then, bam! Hit them right between the eyes when the game is there for the taking.

Whatever the case, the Broncos clearly aren't concerned with earning style points, nor should they be. Who cares if Tebow has fundamental flaws in his delivery if he keeps on winning? His intangibles count for something, too.

That's the beauty of Tebowmania. It doesn't fit neatly in a box. That's OK. Maybe we should just sit back and see how far he can take this opportunity.

There's no harm in that.

Chip Scoggins • ascoggins@startribune.com

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