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

New Orleans 28 FINAL
Carolina 10
Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Houston
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 105 FINAL
Orlando 98
Detroit 91 FINAL
Minnesota 97
New York 95 FINAL
Cleveland 90
Utah 102 FINAL
Dallas 120
Oklahoma City 90 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Buffalo 2
Winnipeg 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Chicago 5 FINAL(SO)
Ottawa 4
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Arizona 1 FINAL
Florida 2
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 4
Anaheim 0 FINAL
St. Louis 2
NY Islanders 0 FINAL
Colorado 5
Montreal 2 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
(2) Florida State 42 FINAL
Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
Ga Southern 42
Cincinnati 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 7:02 PM
Memphis
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Akron
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2
Hamilton 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan
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 NoonX19-13 ot
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