For 55 minutes of Sunday's game, Tim Tebow was more dud than savior. His Denver Broncos were down 15-0 to the winless Miami Dolphins and the quarterback's uneven play was a big reason why. And then he turned water into wine.
Facing a 15-point deficit on the road with the ball on his own 20-yard line, Tebow orchestrated a stunning fourth-quarter comeback, capped by a two-point conversion run with 0:25 on the clock that tied the game and forced overtime. In the extra session, Tebow and the Broncos were aided by a Dolphins fumble that set up a game-winning 52-yard field goal by Matt Prater.
For most of the game, it appeared Tebow's first start of 2011 would give his detractors ammunition for a week of anti-Tim rhetoric. He looked lost at times, turning his back to his receivers and fluttering passes all over the field. His legs saved him from trouble on a few occasions, but not enough to make up for erratic throws and panicked play. His team was equally inadequate, getting down 15-0 to the lowly Dolphins.
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Then came the final two drives. Tebow was 9-13 for 122 yards with two touchdown passes and a key third-down conversion on the ground. Once he connected with DeMaryius Thomas for the first touchdown, Denver recovered an onside kick and went on a two-minute drive to score with 25 seconds left. Tebow's subsequent two-point conversion tied the game.
A win is far from validation; it took some loose Dolphins defense, great special teams play and a fortuitous fumble to get the Broncos the victory. The first 55 minutes were as telling as the final five minutes were promising. But Tebow saved himself from a week of doubting Thomases by keeping poised, operating the two-minute offense and looking like his old college self on the sneak that tied the game. He's now 1-0 on the season and has winnable games against the suddenly reeling Lions, the quarterback-challenged Raiders and the struggling Chiefs.
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Tebow did it again. Denver, rejoice.