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Tebow's season good, bad and ugly

1/16/2012
AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Tim Tebow's season garnered a lot of attention, but it came to an end Saturday at the hands of
Shaun Ellis and the New England Patriots, with a 45-10 loss in an AFC Divisional playoff game.

When Tim Tebow took over as starting QB in Week 7, the Denver Broncos were 1-4 and in last place in the AFC West. From there, the Broncos went 7-4 to win the division, their first division title since 2005.

There was no shortage of exciting moments. From Weeks 11-14, the Broncos won four straight after trailing in the fourth quarter of each, only the second team to do so in NFL history, joining the 2009 Indianapolis Colts, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Including both the regular season and the postseason, Tebow has now started 16 NFL games at quarterback, with a 9-7 record. He’s led a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime in seven of those wins.

Along the way, Tebow provided debate and some memorable moments: good, bad and ugly.

The Good: Late-Game Heroics

The Total QBR scale goes from 0-100, with a 50 being average. This season, including the playoffs, Tebow was below average in each of the first three quarters, but above-average in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Tim Tebow Total QBR
By Quarter This Season

Tebow was at his very best in his postseason debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers, finishing with a 97.3 Total QBR. Not only was it Tebow’s best career Total QBR, but it was the best in any playoff game over the last four seasons among quarterbacks with at least 15 plays.

The game will be remembered for Tebow’s overtime one-and-done strike to Demaryius Thomas, but that was his third completion of the game of at least 50 yards.

In that game, Tebow became the third quarterback in the Super Bowl era to have a postseason game with at least 300 pass yards, 50 rush yards and no turnovers, joining Daunte Culpepper and Joe Montana.

The Bad: Passing Deficiencies

For all the excitement with late-game comebacks, Tebow often struggled in the early part of games, especially with his accuracy.

Tebow finished the regular season with a 46.5 completion percentage, the lowest mark by a qualifying quarterback since Akili Smith’s 44.2 in 2000.

Unlike the 2011 Broncos, Smith's Cincinnati Bengals didn’t go to the playoffs, instead finishing 4-12.

Tebow averaged an NFL-high 12.3 air yards per pass attempt this season. But he struggled on those throws, completing an NFL-low 33.6 percent of his passes more than 10 yards downfield.

The Ugly: Turnovers

Tim Tebow This Season
Including Playoffs

Turnovers weren’t a problem for much of Tebow’s season. In his first eight starts, he only turned the ball over five times as the Broncos went 7-1.

But in his last five starts, including the playoffs, Tebow was responsible for eight turnovers, as Denver went 1-4.

Since he was named starter, spanning the final 11 weeks of the regular season, no player fumbled more than Tebow's 13 or lost more than his six.

The debate has already begun, and will likely continue through the offseason. But there’s no doubt Denver changed their offense to suit his skills, as they ran an NFL-high 38.9 times per game over the final 11 weeks of the season, compared to 23.6 with Kyle Orton as starter.