(Denver, CO) Change is in the air in Denver and Tebow unleashed blew a breath of fresh air into a Broncos team on life support. Like turning over the keys to the family car to a sixteen year-old, the skeptic Broncos may have learned their reluctance could have been a hindrance.
In dramatic fashion Tim Tebow, in his first start at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium orchestrated a 24-23, come-from-behind victory over the Houston Texans. Broncos fans witnessed first hand what made Tebow one of the greatest quarterbacks in NCAA history. The competitive fire to will a team to victory in the closing minutes is what Tebow brings to – and what has been missing from – the Denver Broncos since the John Elway era.
Tebow’s first career start came on the road in Oakland against the Raiders. The rookie quarterback was limited to just 16 pass attempts in the Broncos loss. The playbook opened up the following Sunday in Denver. In the Broncos win against the Texans, Tebow passed for 308-yards on 29 attempts with a touchdown pass, and a touchdown run to complete the comeback.
“I am someone that is going to play until the end and I love this game and I am going to play it with all my heart,” Tebow said after the game. “Any time I get the opportunity, I am going to play every second that I get, as hard as I possibly can.”
The win was the first for Tebow and for Interim Head Coach Eric Studesville in his third start after taking over for fired Josh McDaniels. With the Broncos season in shambles Studesville was under pressure to start Tebow over veteran quarterback Kyle Orton, who maintained an upper echelon status throughout the season. Tebow replaced Orton in Oakland after Orton sustained a rib injury. With two games remaining Tebow was pronounced the starter for the remainder of the season.
While Orton posted commendable numbers, at some points leading the NFL in yardage, Orton was never able to consistently lead the Broncos to a come-from-behind victory. Under Orton the Broncos had five losses that were one-possession losses including a 20-24 loss to the New York Jets, a 6-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and a 33-36 loss to the St. Louis Rams. The only comeback under Orton in the 2010 season was a 26-20 win over the Tennessee Titans on October 3rd which was the last date the Broncos had a winning record at 2-2.
“I don’t know what’s going on next year,” Orton said. “I don’t know if I’ll be here next year. We’ll have to wait and see, and see what shakes out with the organization. If I’m going to be here I’m expecting to be the starter. I don’t think my play has warranted anything other than that.”
With one game left there will be major decisions to be made in short order for the Broncos organization. John Elway will be named Vice President of Football Operations but what isn’t clear is who will be the head coach. With a closing day victory against the San Diego Chargers, Eric Studesville will earn the right for a second look as head coach but will not likely get the position. Whoever does get the head coach position will immediately be faced with a quarterback controversy.
“Right now that’s so far outside of what we’re focusing on,” said Studesville. “We’ve got a lot of things to worry about. There will be some changes after the season. I think all of that will sort itself out. Obviously we think Tim has a very bright future here.”