Run by Tebow, Broncos gets harder to explain

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Tim Tebow threw for 236 yards, but was sacked five times
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  • Tim Tebow
    Tim Tebow

DENVER – I believe we have evolved from apes. I believe in dinosaurs. I also believe the earth was created from debris surrounding the sun that clumped together into a spherical shape. And I believe it all happened in more than seven days.

But I also believe in Tim Tebow because there is no scientific explanation for what is happening to the Denver Broncos. There is no other plausible way to make sense of these games and the amazing, miraculous way with which they win week after week. Not the victory at Miami or the last-second beating of the New York Jets and certainly not Sunday afternoon when the Denver Broncos and Tebow were wretched for more than 55 minutes and somehow won a game that can't rationally be analyzed.

It just happened.

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The Broncos were losing by 10 points to the Chicago Bears with barely more than two minutes left in a game in which they had done nothing to make anyone think they would score. And then there were some passes. And there was a touchdown. And there was a dumb play where Bears running back Marion Barber ran out of bounds stopping the clock. And there were two very long field goals by Denver kicker Matt Prater that would be amazing in any other game in any other season. And the last of these field goals won the game in overtime, 13-10, which sent the Broncos running in wild delirium around the field.

But as to how Tim Tebow made this latest comeback happen from nothing? It would be easier to define the Northern Lights (a collision of charged particles and atoms) or St. Elmo's Fire (air particles that are ionized). And in the Broncos' locker room where players have now experienced six such victories in the eight games since their vociferously Christian quarterback took over as the starter, shoulders shrug and eyes roll to the ceiling as if they themselves don't dare tempt whatever higher power has propelled them to a one-game lead in the AFC West with three games to go.

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Even Tebow himself smiled as he thought of Barber's idiotic late-game run out of bounds and said: "I might have thanked the Lord he did that."

Tebow said this facetiously, with a smirk dancing on his lips as if even he didn't believe it was He who had won this game. Yet when trying to describe the frantic few minutes when the Broncos stormed back in what has to be Tebow's best trick to date, he said: "It's kind of like a blur, I don't even remember what happened."

Give up any logical rationale for how a Broncos team that has a solid and improving defense but little in offensive skill is nonetheless storming to the playoffs. Don't bother trying to decipher Tebow's throwing motion of the illogical passes he sometimes heaves that go way over his receiver's heads or bounce along the ground. His games generally follow the same script: He slogs his way through three quarters, looking for all the world like the worst quarterback ever born, then somewhere late in the final quarter he suddenly dazzles, leading Denver to score after score.

Players will use words like "resilience" and "character" and "toughness" to assess both their quarterback and themselves but none of it makes much logical sense. Nothing explains 50 minutes of dreadful football transforming into brilliance at the snap of a finger. Or perhaps a clap of thunder.

On Sunday, nobody much believed. Not the fans, many of whom shuffled toward the stadium exits after the Broncos punted with 5:41 left in the game. Not a lot of the players who watched how a 0-0 game at halftime turned into a 10-0 deficit deep in the fourth quarter. And maybe not even Tebow himself, who seemed almost giddy in his postgame press conference. When asked about the discrepancy between his first three quarters and the final one, he said: "I guess I just need go get to the stadium and start practicing earlier."

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But as they have in this string of games that has defied all explanation, they all understand the magic can repeat itself. When Tebow drove Denver to its first score with 2:08 left in the game, players walked among each other and said "We have done this before." Then when Barber ran out of bounds, possibly giving the Broncos an extra 45 seconds if not more to get Prater into position for what became a game-tying 59-yard field goal, they whooped because they could sense something big was happening again.

Yet what? They didn't know.

"I need somebody to explain it to me," Denver safety Quinton Carter said after the game.

They never seem to know. They understand they win. They grasp that the winning started with the insertion of Tebow at quarterback after the bye week in October and they have come to see him as a great leader. More importantly, they have come to believe now.

Ironically it was another deeply Christian man, safety Rahim Moore, who pondered the comeback and theorized – quite scientifically – that the Bears seemed to have tired at the end of the game, perhaps overhyped to play against Tebow, and were in something of a prevent defense late in the game. This actually made rational sense even if nothing else did.

So in absence of anything else making much football sense, it's just easier to believe. To believe in Tebow. To believe in this Broncos team once going nowhere. To believe in the impossible. Because it keeps happening. And there seems no reason it will stop.

"If you believe, unbelievable things can sometimes be possible," Tebow said.


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