Dick LeBeau did it.
The Pittsburgh Steelers defenders did it.
And yes, yours truly did it.
Indeed. We were all guilty of underestimating the passing abilities of Tim Tebow, especially as he prepared to face the NFL’s No. 1 pass defence in the Steelers on Sunday.
In a preview piece of the Steelers-Broncos Wild Card game in the Sunday Sun, it was pointed out that the “warts” in Tebow’s game were becoming quite evident. Not only was his accuracy eroding during a season-ending three -game losing streak, he had personally accounted for 10 turnovers in the final five contests — five fumbles, five interceptions.
Given those facts, who would have predicted that Tebow could turn the tables so quickly in his first post-season game?
Not Dick LeBeau.
Not the Steelers defenders.
And not yours truly.
In fact, those of you who claim you knew all along Tebow would bounce back with such miraculous flair and panache, look in the mirror. Your noses are growing like Pinocchio’s.
Along those lines, no sooner had Tebow completed the miraculous game-winning 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas than a flood of e-mails and tweets came in claiming how wrong the “warts” piece had been.
Apples and oranges, people.
Tebow still has flaws. But when he doesn’t turn the ball over as was the case in Denver’s thrilling 29-23 overtime victory on Sunday, he obviously has found a way to overcome them. Full credit to him.
As for his ability to beat teams with his arm, LeBeau, like yours truly, didn’t think he could. That’s why the Steelers kept clogging the line of scrimmage daring Tebow to go deep. Such was the understandable gameplan of the Hall of Fame defensive back who is now revered as one of the top defensive coordinators in the game.
All season long, the Steelers had given up just two completions of 40 yards or more. On Sunday, they allowed four in one game.
Not to Tom Brady. or Drew Brees, or Aaron Rodgers.
To Tim Tebow.
Asked if he was surprised at Tebow’s ability to go deep — he averaged 31.6 yards per completion — Steelers linebacker James Farrior said: “A little.”
The Steelers weren’t ready for Tebow to beat them that way. That’s what Steelers coach Mike Tomlin likely meant when he said his team “didn’t execute from a players standpoint and a coaching standpoint.”
Thus, thanks to yet another Tim Tebow miracle, a lot of us are eating humble pie today. As for those of you insisting “we told you so,” where were those words last week? It’s no conincidence they only started coming out AFTER Thomas had crossed the goal line Sunday night.
Broncos defensive back Champ Bailey, who reportedly was weeping with emotion inside the Broncos locker room after the game, candidly responded to all of his fellow NFLers who have been questioning (in some cases slagging) Tebow in recent weeks, a group that included Terrell Suggs and Joe Flacco of the Ravens, Packer tight end Jermichael Finley and Carolina’s Steve Smith. “You can say it looks different or whatever you want but don’t say he won’t make it,” Bailey said. “This is like a big fraternity for me. Guys who do that, I lose respect for them.”