(Photo: Reuters/Daron Dean)
When a quarterback completes just two passes over the course of a game, the outcome for his team is rarely favorable.
Unless, of course, your name is Tim Tebow.
The Denver Broncos quarterback led his team over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday by the score of 17-10 – without having to put the ball in the air.
Tebow, now 3-1 this season since being named the starter by head coach John Fox one month ago, has failed to gain more than 175 passing yards in all four of his starts. Success for the Broncos in the era of Tebow has taken shape in different areas of the game beyond the talents of their quarterback's arm. Thanks to a weak AFC West, the Denver Broncos, at 4-5 and one game out of first place, can continue to play to their five key strengths and make a run at the playoffs with seven games to go.
DEFENSE: According to The Denver Post, the Broncos are giving up 26 points per game with Tebow under center. This figure, two points lower than when backup quarterback Kyle Orton was starting, drops to 16 points per outing when looking solely at Tebow's three victories. In the Broncos' loss to Detroit, Tebow threw an interception – his lone pick of the season – allowing for a potent Lions offense to rack up 45 points.
TURNOVER BATTLE: With one interception and two fumbles in his four starts this season, Tebow has played nearly mistake-free football. As a team, the Broncos had one turnover in Tebow's three victories but turned the ball over three times in their loss to the Lions. Looking across the league at Sunday's games, teams that won the turnover battle were a resounding 10-1 on the day.
RUNNING THE FOOTBALL: A transition from the Kyle Orton pass-happy offense to relying on the run has been key to the resurgence of the Broncos' offense under Tebow. With injuries to featured backs Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno in the first half, the Broncos turned to third-string running back Lance Ball to shoulder the load on Sunday. Ball responded with a workman-like 96 yards on 30 carries to contribute to the Broncos' 244 yards on the ground – including 43 yards and a touchdown from Tebow. Doug Farrar, a Yahoo! Sports football blogger, puts it best when he said, “...Tebow's built more like Peyton Hillis than Peyton Manning. He's looking to run you over as much as he is looking to elude you.”
GETTING THE BIG PLAY: While Tebow completed only two passes on Sunday, he made the most of his efforts by connecting for 13 yards and a touchdown pass of 56 yards to Eric Decker – ultimately the deciding score in the game's outcome. Looking at Tebow's other wins this season, success has come in a similar fashion. While only throwing for 124 yards in a victory against the Oakland Raiders, Tebow threw two touchdown passes for 26 and 24 yards.
LEADERSHIP: Countless conversations on television and in print have questioned Tim Tebow and how his unique skillset may translate to success as a starting quarterback in the NFL. The most telling indicator of his progression may come from his teammates rather than the football talkingheads. In an interview with The Denver Post, rookie linebacker Von Miller's thoughts on Tebow speak of how the Broncos have become more unified under the second-year quarterback.
"Tim Tebow? I'm buying," rookie Denver linebacker Von Miller said. "He's the greatest thing out there. I think he's shut up some critics. You can't get a bad comment from me about Tim Tebow. I love him."