The story that dominated the sports pages and talk radio airwaves after the slate of game's comprising the NFL's seventh week was not New Orleans' record-breaking performance against Indianapolis on Sunday night or the Jets' come-from-behind victory against the San Diego Chargers earlier that afteroon. Nor was it the Packers staying perfect or even Arian Foster's monster game for the Texans.
And, for obvious reasons, it wasn't the Jaguars' stuttering victory over the suddenly hapless Ravens on Monday night that had everyone buzzing.
Instead, the most talked about tilt of the week was a contest featuring teams that had a combined 1-9 record entering the game. In this game, that everyone can't stop talking about, the team that entered woeful and winless dominated for long stretches. They did this not necessarily by virtue of impressive play. Rather, the one-win squad played toothless. However, a late comeback by that team -- which had failed to convert a third down until late in the fourth quarter -- has become the lead item on numerous sports news shows because the late surge was spurred by a second-year quarterback named Tim Tebow.
Have you heard of him? Have you heard about his big win on Sunday? If your answer to either of those queries is "no" then you likely live under a rock and are reading a printed out version of this story that found it's way to you -- under the aforementioned boulder -- by way of messenger pigeon.
For our loyal under-rock readers, you should know that the run-first, pray later quarterback has inspired legions of supporters and detractors. Both parties had plenty to say after Tebow led Broncos to an improbable comeback win over the still-winless Miami Dolphins on Sunday in arguably the most Tebowesque performance imaginable.
For three quarters, Tebow did not look like much of a professional quarterback. And the Broncos seemed to have no inclination to use him as such, barely calling on him to throw the ball. Tebow only had five passing attempts in the entire first half, completing three of them for a mere 24 yards. Denver went into the fourth quarter with a grand total of zero points and trailed by six.
As the Denver Post pointed out, both teams were a combined 0 for 15 on third down with 11 punts through three quarters. Tebow, who was sacked seven times, was just 4 for 14 for 40 yards during that span. Put plainly, he looked like the third-string quarterback on a roster including Brady Quinn and Kyle Orton.
But all the empirical data gathered over the bulk of the game somehow became irrelevant during the climactic moments. Then quantifiable things like passing yards and completion percentage gave way to intangibles like will and fire. The Broncos unexpected comeback began when they got the ball back with 5:23 left in the 4th quarter. After a touchback on a Dolphins punt, Tebow lead the offense down the field with six plays in the no-huddle offense and completed the 80-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas. After the Broncos' special teams unit beautifully executed an onside kick, Tebow and the offense marched 56 yards and scored on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Tebow to Daniel Fells.
Then, on a play that everyone saw coming, except for the Miami defense, Tebow ran in a 2-point conversion on a quarterback draw to tie the game. In overtime, Denver's defense took over, sacking Matt Moore at Miami's own 35 and forcing a fumble. The turnover gave the Broncos good enough field position for kicker Matt Prater to nail a 52-yard game-winner.
For 55 minutes, Tebow was the quarterback all his harshest critics say he is. For the last five minutes, he was the quarterback all his supporters say he is. He inspired. He led the offense. He won the game. There were wildly errant passes. There was inimitable athleticism. Everyone wins. Well, except for the Dolphins.