Souhan: Tebowing trumps Pondering

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 5, 2011 - 1:25 PM

One quarterback threw for 381 yards and three touchdowns, setting a franchise rookie record for passing yards in a game. The other quarterback won.

One quarterback left the field with his helmet on, wearing it more for refuge than protection, moving like his cleats were made of lead.

The other quarterback left much later, after hugging everyone in sight and conducting television interviews, his helmet off, grin radiating, fans screaming his name.

The first quarterback threw for 381 yards and three touchdowns, setting a franchise rookie record for passing yards in a game.

The second quarterback won.

Sunday, Tebowing beat Pondering, and by the end of the day Tim Tebow's successes and Christian Ponder's failures no longer seemed so mysterious.

Tebow, the Broncos' lightning rod, is 6-1 as an NFL starter. Ponder, the Vikings' rookie, is 1-5. Both quarterbacked proud college teams in Florida. Both run like halfbacks. Both were first-round draft choices taken earlier than most analysts expected, and both were asked this season to resurrect losing teams.

Ponder is the more accurate and prolific passer. Sunday, with star running back Adrian Peterson and veteran receiver Michael Jenkins injured, he shredded Denver's defense.

Tebow's throwing motion is long and awkward. He's as likely to run the option as he is to complete a touch pass, and he'd probably lose a 40-yard dash to Ponder. Somehow, though, through a combination of luck, timing, clutch play and his counterpart's mistakes, Tebow made the difference in the Broncos' 35-32 victory at Mall of America Field.

Ponder completed 29 of 47 passes for 381 yards and three touchdowns.

Tebow attempted just 15 passes, completing 10 for 202 yards and two touchdowns.

The difference between them wasn't mystical. The difference was that Ponder gave the Broncos 10 points with two unsightly interceptions, and cost his team at least three points with a fumble, while Tebow, facing an inept secondary that often left receivers uncovered, did not commit a single turnover.

In seven starts, in an offensive scheme that seems designed to play safe, Tebow has thrown one interception. In six starts, running an offense often in need of miracles, Ponder has thrown eight.

"Everyone talks about how rookies are going to have their ups and downs, and obviously so, but I don't want to go through ups and downs," Ponder said. "I just want to go through ups. And I'm hard on myself, I'm my hardest critic, and I'm going to go back and try to keep learning from those mistakes. I've had way too many turnovers."

Ponder's first turnover of the day was an interception returned for a touchdown. His second was a fumble when the Vikings were in field-goal range. His third decided the game.

Tebow had driven the Broncos 59 yards for the tying field goal with 1:33 remaining in the game. Ponder took over on his own 20. He dropped back, looked for the prolific Percy Harvin on the left sideline, and threw a pass directly to Broncos cornerback André Goodman.

Goodman returned it to the Vikings 15, the Vikings' coaches foolishly let the Broncos run the clock down instead of allowing them to score so Minnesota could have one last drive, and the game ended on a 23-yard field goal.

Ponder walked slowly to the middle of the field, spoke with Tebow, then skulked toward the locker room.

"We shook hands and wished each other well," Ponder said. "It's hard to argue -- the guy wins games. He had the game-winning drive there."

Only because of an assist from Ponder.

"I think the negatives are always what you learn the most from," Ponder said. "I learned that you can't stick a corner route into Cover-2 the way you did in college.

"Stats are stats. They don't win ballgames. I'd much rather have a win and throw for 10 yards."

There's a term for that these days. It's called "Tebowing."

If you were building an NFL team -- and that's what the Vikings find themselves trying to do -- you should prefer Ponder to Tebow.

Sunday, though, it was Tebow who was running off the field, hearing fans screaming his name.

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2 p.m. on 1500ESPN. His Twitter name is Souhan-Strib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 7:00 PM
Miami
Indiana 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Utah 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Portland 8:00 PM
Denver
Phoenix 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
LA Clippers 9:30 PM
Golden State
San Jose 6:00 PM
Boston
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Toronto 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Detroit 6:30 PM
Montreal
Arizona 7:00 PM
Nashville
Carolina 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Philadelphia 7:30 PM
Chicago
Vancouver 7:30 PM
Dallas
Florida 8:00 PM
Colorado
Tampa Bay 8:00 PM
Calgary
Arkansas State 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close