Tim Tebow: Examining a “Winner”

Stats are prior to Week 12 unless noted otherwise:

The supporters say he’s a winner; he is 5-1, after all.

John Elway, former great Broncos quarterback and current Chief of Football Operations, answered with a swift “no” when asked if he felt the Broncos currently have their quarterback.

Tim Tebow ear-muffs his haters, including — in this instance — his boss John Elway; he is letting the five wins talk for him.

But the five wins are brazen; they do not truly represent Tim Tebow as an NFL quarterback.

Quarterback Rating:
His QB rating sits at 78.4, 26th in the NFL among quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts; better than Joe Flacco (77.6) who has Anquan Boldin and Ray Rice as top-notch options.

With the way QB rating is calculated, Tebow benefits from his 7 touchdown passes in 125 attempts.

However, a closer look at Tebow’s 2011 stats show that 3 of his 7 passing touchdowns resulted from passes thrown behind the line of scrimmage. He has 14 pass attempts behinds the line of scrimmage, 10 of them were completed for 66 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Aaron Rodgers, the current leader in touchdown passes, only has had 2 of his 31 TD passes come from players who caught the ball behind the line of scrimmage; none of Brady’s 25 are from behind the line of scrimmage and only 2 of Stafford’s 25 were.

In 2007 when Tom Brady threw for 50 touchdowns, only one was thrown to a receiver behind the line of scrimmage.

Basically, Tebow has a 69.01 QB rating, 4 TDs, 1 INT, and a 42% completion percentage on passes NOT thrown to a receiver behind the line of scrimmage.

On passes thrown 1-10 yards in front of the line of scrimmage, Tebow has only completed 56.8% of them for a 65.8 rating.

Completion Percentage:
Tebow’s completion percentage is a full ten percentage points below Joe Flacco’s much talked-about number.


Third Downs:
One of Elway’s noted criticism of Tebow was his third down effectiveness. Tebow and the Broncos were 3 for 13 against the Jets last Thursday night.

Elway is on to something here.

In 2011, Tebow is 14 for 34 on third down for 139 yards, a 41.2% completion rate, and a 70.6 QB rating.

On third downs when the Broncos need nine or more yards to convert, Tebow averages 7.25 yards per attempt; when they need between 3-8 yards — 1.28 yards per attempt.

A “Winner”:
That’s all we hear: “He’s a winner.”

Tebow’s give wins this season have come against the Dolphins, the Raiders, the Chiefs, the Jets, and tonight against the Chargers.

Not only is a win over the Dolphins (currently 3-7) weak, but Tebow and the Broncos needed overtime to finish the then-zero-win Dolphins. Tebow was perplexed by the mighty Dolphins defense for the first three quarters, putting zero points on the board. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that Tebow woke-up and drove on a Dolphins’ pass defense that is ranked 25th in the league going into Week 12. In four quarters and a few minutes in overtime, Tebow passed for 161 yards, the lowest any quarterback has passed for against the Dolphins this season by 40 yards.

The win over the Raiders was propelled by a monstrous 163-yard day from running back Willis McGahee and a punt return by Eddie Royal. Tebow was 10/21 for 124 yards.

He only threw eight times against the Chiefs and the Broncos still won. What does that tell you?

In the win over the Jets last Thursday, Tebow was just 9 for 20 passing (45%) for 104 yards. Tebow needed a pick-six from his defense late in the third to tie the game. In the fourth, when Tebow “lead” a five minute drive to take the lead, he passed the ball twice, once for an incompletion.

And tonight, the Broncos once again created a comeback against the San Diego Chargers, tying and winning the game on the foot of Matt Pratar, making Tim Tebow 5-1 as an NFL starter. He only threw 18 times.

In the five tying or go-ahead fourth quarter drives that Tebow is given credit for this season, including tonight’s match-up against the Chargers, only 43.5% of the yards were passing yards.

It’s hard to call a quarterback, whom does not have the confidence of his coordinator and his team to pass more than 20 times in a game, a winner.

If Tim Tebow truly was a quarterback with a definitive knack for winning, he would not need fourth quarter comebacks; he would have his team ahead before the final five minutes of a game.

Aaron Rodgers is a winner.
Tom Brady is a winner.
Peyton Manning is a winner.

His Defense:
What always seems to be lost in the Tebowmania is the work of the Denver Broncos defense in those fourth quarter comebacks.

In the Broncos’ five wins with Tebow as quarterback, the defense has not allowed a touchdown in five fourth quarters and two overtime periods.

Against Miami, the defense set-up Denver for the win in overtime as D.J. Williams sacked Matt Moore, causing a fumble, giving the Broncos the ball well within kicker Matt Pratar’s range.

In The End:
In the end, the Denver Broncos are 5-1 as a team. Tebow is not Rodgers, Brady, or Peyton; he does not lead his team to wins with immaculate quarterbacking abilities.

He is an athlete playing the quarterback position, riding the coattails of a resurgent Willis McGahee and a lights-out fourth quarter defense.


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