Tebow ugly, but in

Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is tackled by Chiefs safety Kendrick Lewis in Denver, Col., Jan. 1,...

Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is tackled by Chiefs safety Kendrick Lewis in Denver, Col., Jan. 1, 2012. (DOUG PENSINGER/Getty Images/AFP)

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:10 AM ET

TORONTO - The final frantic day of the AFC West season was a strange thing to behold. Losers became winners and winners got sent home.

The guy with the worst quarterbacking line of the day (six completions in 22 attempts, no TDs, just 60 total yards, with an interception thrown in) gets a free pass to do it all again next week in the playoffs.

The QB with the best AFC West line of the day (19-of-26, 310 yards, three TDs and a 135 rating) will be watching those same playoffs on TV and shaking his head.

The Broncos were beaten 7-3 by the Kansas City Chiefs, but live to fight another week. The San Diego Chargers finished off an 8-8 campaign with their usual December flurry but once again fell short of the playoffs. They are, without question, the most talented team in the division and Philip Rivers is the best quarterback in the division by a country mile.

Sunday the Raiders were a desperate team and the Chargers handled them 38-26. San Diego had an answer for anything the Raiders threw at them.

It’s clear that major front office changes are coming in San Diego and that may be the solution to this team’s inability to play up to its talent. It must drive guys like Rivers crazy to be on the outside looking in when obviously flawed outfits like the Broncos are moving on.

So what? RB Willis McGahee says.

“We’re in it. That’s it. The division’s over. That game’s behind us. Everybody’s 0-0 (next weekend).

“We’re unpredictable, baby. Nobody knows what we’re going to do as far as game plan-wise. We’re going to keep you on your toes.”

Nevertheless, the overall impression we’re left with is that John Elway was right all along. The search for a quarterback in Denver is very much an ongoing process. The Tim Tebow magic that captured fans‚ imaginations during Denver’s improbable run to the top of the division has been unmasked. If he’s ever going to be a player of substance in the NFL, he will have to come up with an entirely new act.

It isn’t as if Kyle Orton and the Kansas City Chiefs walked into Mile High and stole the keys to the city. The truth is, their act wasn’t much to write home about, either. But the homestanding Broncos could not make anything happen and that does not bode well for the Broncos next week when they must face the battle-hardened Pittsburgh Steelers.

Orton, at least gets to gloat. He was dismissed by the Broncos in favour of Tebow back in November and came back to haunt them after being picked up by the Chiefs as a waiver claim. Sunday, against the Broncos, he went 15-for-29 for 180 yards, which isn’t even a good quarter for Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers, but he still managed to pull out the 7-3 win.

After six wins in a row in which he became football next big thing, Tebow has looked about as bad as any quarterback can look the past three games. Defences have figured out that if you can keep him in the pocket, he’s easily defendable. In the three season-ending losses in a row, the Broncos have been outscored 88-40 and Tebow has not only been a non-factor, but a liability.

In those three losses, Tebow is 30-for-73 for 439 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. In this pass-crazy NFL that is just not good enough.

QUICK HITS

Raheem Morris is likely going to be fired as head coach of the Buccaneers but he’s not planning on it. “If I was in the business of working out my future, I wouldn’t be coaching” he said. “I’m going to work until they tell me to stop.” .... Tampa Bay turned the ball over four times Sunday. The Buccaneers have now turned the ball over 32 times during their 10-game losing streak, increasing the discrepancy in turnover margin to minus-17 for the season .... The Steelers have to travel the playoff road as a wild card for their sixth time. They won Super Bowl XL as a No. 6 seed (No. 5 now). ... QB T. J. Yates sustained a separated left shoulder in Sunday’s loss to the Titans, according to the Houston Chronicle. Yates, however, is expected to start next week’s AFC Wild Card Game. ... Hines Ward reached 1,000 career catches. That made the 14-year veteran one of eight players in NFL history to collect as many receptions.

RAIDERS FALL SHORT

At times this year, it looked as if the old Oakland Raider spirit had been rekindled in the same year that Al Davis, the team’s heart and soul, had departed this earth.

As recently as a month ago, when they beat the Chicago Bears 25-20 to go three games over .500 at 7-4, the Raiders seemed to have the AFC West in a stranglehold.

Sunday, though, they lost for the fourth time in the last five weeks and whatever revival had been under way was snuffed out. The most devastating defeat the Raiders suffered was the one two weeks ago when they allowed the Detroit Lions to score two late touchdowns, squandering a 13-point lead in the final two minutes.

When the Chargers beat them yesterday, they missed the playoffs for the ninth straight year. Now, the only thing this Raiders outfit will be remembered for is penalties. They set an NFL record in that department with 163 penalties for a whopping 1,368 yards. The 1998 Chiefs held the old record of 158 penalties for 1,304 yards.


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