Eight is enough for Tebow

November, 13, 2011
11/13/11
6:30
PM ET

The Tim Tebow issue continues for Denver Broncos brass.

Tebow is clearly not making strides as a passer. That can't be sugarcoated after his extremely conservative approach Sunday (2-for-8, 69 yards passing).

But there's no denying that Tebow is a winner.

So Broncos executive VP of football operations John Elway and head coach John Fox will likely stick with Tebow for the foreseeable future despite his weaknesses as a passer. After all, winning is more important than effective pocket-passing.

Remarkably, the Broncos are back in the AFC West race with Tebow as their starter. After a 17-10 win at Kansas City on Sunday, Denver is 4-5 and tied with San Diego and Kansas City for second place. Oakland is first at 5-4.

The Broncos are 3-1 with Tebow as their starter this season. Since the start of last season, Denver is 4-3 with Tebow as its starter, 4-14 with Kyle Orton. All three of Tebow’s victories this season have come on the road. The truth is the Broncos just play better with Tebow as their quarterback. With the exception of the complete stinker at home against Detroit two weeks ago, Denver’s play has been very competitive with Tebow.

Denver, which enjoyed a spirited defensive effort Sunday led by a strong performance by rookie pass-rusher Von Miller, will be tested on a short week when the New York Jets visit Denver on Thursday night. If the Broncos can find a way to beat the Jets, they will be considered a real threat.

At some point, Tebow must win a game with his arm, but it's obvious Fox doesn’t think he's ready to do that. Denver ran the ball 55 times and threw it just eight times at Kansas City. Tebow, who was 0-for-4 passing at the half, made one of his tosses count in the second half, throwing a 56-yard TD pass to Eric Decker. Denver relied on the read option as it ran for 244 yards (43 by Tebow) without top rushers Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno for much of the game. Denver, which has won back-to-back games for the first time in 29 games, has led the NFL in rushing for the past five weeks.

Interestingly, Denver won for the first time with two or fewer completions. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the only other team in the past 25 years to win a game with two or fewer pass completions and have only one quarterback attempt a pass was the Browns in Week 5 2009 at the Bills. The quarterback was Derek Anderson, who went 2-for-17.

This type of unbalance is certainly not the way to win games in the NFL, but Denver is winning. Elway recently said Tebow’s starting status is based on week-to-week performance. His numbers suggest that he is on the way out, but the fact that Denver is winning overrides the numbers.

So, no matter how unconventonial it may be, the Tebow experiment continues.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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