Will Tebow get to pass in Pittsburgh?
September, 12, 2012
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
Ron Chenoy/US PRESSWIRETim Tebow had a lot of fun the last time he lined up against the Steelers.FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The last time he played Pittsburgh, Tim Tebow had the game of his life.
He threw for 316 yards and ran for 50 more, accounting for three touchdowns in the Broncos' overtime upset of the Steelers.
His last TD, of course, was the most memorable.
Tebow hit Demaryius Thomas for an electrifying 80-yard touchdown on the opening play of overtime to stun the Steelers.
So the question heading into Sunday's road game against the Steelers is this: Will the Jets let Tebow throw?
No one in Gang Green's locker room was giving any insight into the team's offensive game plan Wednesday. But if Pittsburgh pressures Tebow as it did in the 2011 playoffs, the Jets' backup might get the opportunity to put it in the air for the first time this season.
Asked about the possibility of attempting a pass Sunday, Tebow played coy. He said he'd do "whatever's going to work and whatever I'm asked to do."
The Steelers seemed to dare Tebow to throw in their wild-card matchup with the Broncos this past January. And they got burned. He was just the third quarterback in the Super Bowl era to have 300 yards passing, 50 yards rushing and no turnovers in a playoff game.
In a play that typified Pittsburgh's approach against Tebow, the Steelers' D was in "zero coverage" -- meaning without a safety in the middle of the field -- on Tebow's game-winning hookup with Thomas.
Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said Pittsburgh would make adjustments in its plans against Tebow on Sunday.
"What we did in [the playoff] game was to address an issue of a guy that was taking a snap from center on every play. Obviously, our approach is probably going to be a little bit different in regard to how we deal with him this time around," the coach said, adding: "I know we better be prepared for more than what we saw on Sunday."
Tebow did not attempt a pass in his Jets debut, a 48-28 win over Buffalo. He carried the ball five times for 11 yards. Overall, he was under center for eight plays.
Not attempting a pass isn't all that rare for Tebow. He's played in eight games in which he hasn't made a throw.
Will he get to make his first as a Jet on Sunday?
Rex Ryan wouldn't reveal much about his plans for Tebow during his Wednesday news conference. He was asked whether Tebow's previous success in the air against Pittsburgh could be an advantage for the Jets on Sunday.
"When you watch that game, they brought everybody when Tim was in there. Will they have the same strategy? I'm not sure," the coach said.
If they bring everybody again Sunday, Tebow might find some favorable matchups on the outside. But Tomlin insists that, this time, his Steelers will be ready.
"Obviously, he's a capable passer. That's an element of it that we need to be prepared for," Tomlin said.