For almost three hours in South Florida, Tim Tebow looked like he had never played football before. For about 20 minutes, Tim Tebow couldn't do anything wrong. We'll start off the weekly rundown with some Tebow-related and inspired bullets, and then we'll give the rest of the league a look.
• If the Broncos can't improve their pass protection, Tebow won't be in uniform very long. Perhaps it makes sense to flip their offensive tackles; for a left-handed quarterback, right tackle is the key spot.
Tebow was sacked seven times by an ordinary Miami pass rush, which tells you something. I put most of the blame on the inexperienced QB, but the Broncos offensive line got schooled all afternoon. Here are the teams next up on the Denver sack exchange: Detroit, Oakland, Kansas City, New York Jets, San Diego.
• I'd love to give the Denver coaching staff truth serum and find out if it really wants Tebow to succeed. Heck, give it to the entire front office. There are arguments both ways on this.
• The players are mostly to blame for Miami's 1-12 run at home, but the organization isn't helping. The Dolphins front office did everything but declare it "Tim Tebow Day" on Sunday — the exact opposite of the objective. You're supposed to make the opponent uncomfortable in your stadium, for crying out loud. I feel sorry for anyone who pulls for this franchise.
• I'm still considering Tebow a Top 10 fantasy quarterback because his rushing chops aren't going anywhere (especially with Willis McGahee hurt) and eventually he'll develop some chemistry with his receivers. And this team might be playing from behind fairly regularly, which helps the QB as well.
• One of the most pointless things a fantasy owner can do is fret over partial stats as the bullets are flying on Sunday. Wait until the games are over. Keep the laptop closed if you can, keep the phone in your pocket if you can. No one wins their fantasy game at 1:37 pm. Tebow's late flurry turned a messy day into a strong one. Table your angst until the clock hits zero. Focus on watching and enjoying the games, and see if you can learn something that will help you down the road.
• The Broncos called Old Testament on the overtime flip. Unfortunately, it came up New Testament.
• The best part of ESPN's QBR stat is the "if Tebow, add 50 points" part.
As for the other 30 teams in the league, here's additional bulletry:
• Anyone who owns Green Bay players on their fake-football roster should hope for a Packers loss in short order. The Pack might have some tricky decisions to make down the road; keep the pedal to the floor or rest up for the playoffs?
Green Bay is already two games clear in the NFC North and I can't see San Francisco challenging for the No. 1 seed in the conference (the Niners have an easy schedule, but they also have a game at Baltimore that looks like a sure loss). Would Mike McCarthy care about a 16-0 season if it's in play? Would resting Aaron Rodgers for a game or two make any sense, or would the rustiness factor be a strong enough deterrent?
Have a look at the rest of the Green Bay schedule, tell me what you see. If the Packers win on Thanksgiving at Detroit, I can't see how the last 2-3 weeks will mean much, if anything, to these guys. Here are the games left: Week 8 bye, then at San Diego, Minnesota, Tampa, at Detroit, at New York Giants, Oakland, at Kansas City, Chicago, Detroit.
• I never root for anyone to get hurt and the Tim Hightower news (out for season) actually hurts a couple of my teams. But it cleans up Washington's backfield a little bit, pushing Mike Shanahan down to two options (Ryan Torain, Roy Helu), at least until Evan Royster does something of note (sixth-round pick, fresh off the practice squad). I'll be re-ranking all of the running backs for Wednesday's Shuffle Up and Run, but here's a preliminary number on both: Torain 19, Helu 30. And maybe I'll slide Olandis Gary and Mike Anderson into the 50s.
• Brilliant move by Bud Selig to flex the Colts and Jaguars into prime-time slots against his World Series presentation this week. Crazy like a fox. Alas, football fans can cheer up; the prime-time schedule for the next five weeks is actually pretty good. Not every game is a home run, but we don't have any obvious clunkers either, not that I can see.
• I can't believe I'm saying this with a straight face, but the Seahawks passing game really missed Tarvaris Jackson. The fantasy value of Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin jumps if Jackson can return in short order, not that the Seahawks are likely to throw for a lot of production in Week 8 against the underrated Bengals defense.
Bernard Scott will be Cincinnati's starting tailback in that game, as the Cedric Benson one-game suspension finally hits. Scott has his work cut out for him in this matchup; he's not much between the tackles, and Seattle's underrated front seven is parceling out 3.2 yards per carry, stingiest in the league. Consider him a one-week flex rental, nothing more.
• If the Lions don't find a way to balance things on offense, they're going to get Matthew Stafford killed. And it's a shame there isn't a solid No. 2 receiver on this club, a security blanket for Stafford when his two primary weapons (Megatron, Pettigrew) aren't open downfield.
• I was impressed with Christian Ponder's poise and pocket awareness, and he gives his downfield receivers a chance — something we couldn't say when Donovan McNabb was in the mix. The Vikings aren't a great team but they should win five or six games before the season ends. This is a competitive lot. Every major part of their passing game gets a nudge forward after Ponder's solid starting debut.
• If Antonio Brown gets a starting position with the Steelers at some point in the second half, he's automatically a Top 25 receiver, maybe better than that. And he's very flex worthy right now, clicking nicely with Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh will have to throw more than it probably wants down the stretch, as this is the worst offensive line and defense the Steelers have seen in several years.
• There's no magical answer to DeMarco Murray's splashy game. Off the cuff I'd say it was 60 percent Murray, 40 percent silence of the Rams. Unknown Phillip Tanner (6-34, touchdown) didn't have any trouble carving up the Rams either. See if you can take advantage of the upcoming St. Louis schedule: New Orleans, at Arizona, at Cleveland, Seattle, Arizona.
Felix Jones? We've reached the "take whatever you can get" period. Even when he returns, it's clear the Cowboys can't rely on him as a full-time back.
• Yes, Philip Rivers looked lost in New Jersey, and yes, the San Diego two-minute drill was an absolute joke. But I think it's a decent time to buy low on the Chargers passing game. Rivers and Vincent Jackson won't have to deal with Darrelle Revis again, and the presence of Antonio Gates (even at 60-70 percent) opens up so many options. There's nothing daunting about the upcoming schedule, at least from a passing matchup standpoint: at Kansas City, Green Bay (everyone's throwing on them), Oakland.
• What's playing in Jim Caldwell's headset? Traffic on the 2s? Smooth Jazz? A season without Peyton Manning was sure to be a lost year, but Caldwell hasn't done anything to stem the bleeding. January might be a good time for Indy to take stock and clean house.
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Images courtesy Associated Press
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