NEPD Staff Writer: Doug Kyed
After rewatching the Patriots-Broncos game from earlier in the year, here are some observations I made about how Tim Tebow played against the Patriots – including a look at every incompletion in the game.
-He played incredibly safe and only throws the ball if he knows that his WR is the only person who can make the play on the ball.
-It’s nice that he knows his limits, but sometimes it would be nice to see him take more risks. He throws the ball away a LOT and that does take away from the time of possession they gain from being so run heavy. Incompletions are better than turnovers, but they still hurt.
-If the Broncos are going to roll with Tebow, they should draft another run first QB this year to back him up. He’s going to get hurt at some point and it would make sense to be able to plug in another similar QB, not a guy like Orton or Quinn, where the game plan would completely change. Tebow gets hit really hard on any option style play.
-They don’t run nearly as many option plays as the media makes you think. This is really inexact because I didn’t take notes on it, but I’d guess there was at most 5 option style plays?
-His mechanics are still pretty bad and it hurts his WRs yards after catch. There was a pass a 39 yard pass to Demaryius Thomas that probably could have gone to the house if Sergio Brown didn’t have so much time to react to where the throw was going.
-He seriously needs to stop turning his back to the defense. It almost got him killed when he ran straight into Mark Anderson.
-He needs to never run 30 yards behind the line of scrimmage again. Granted, it was 4th down, but what are you gaining from running 30 yards back? It ties more into how he plays so safe. He didn’t want to force a throw, got disrupted by pretty minimal pressure and would have been better off forcing it even if he was going to be a turnover. A turnover on downs isn’t any better than an interception.
-He makes incredible plays. The first play of the fourth quarter, the Broncos were on their own four yard line. Tebow ran back, got pressured by Brandon Deaderick, was in his grasp, fumbled, got out of his grasp, recovered the fumble in the end zone and threw an incomplete pass at the feet of Demaryius Thomas. It was incredibly frustrating as a Patriots fan, because it should have been a safety or a touchdown.
Literally any other QB in the league, that’s a TD or a safety, including Brady, Rodgers and Roethlisberger, but because of Tebow’s toughness, athleticism and fearlessness, it was an extremely broken play that turned into an incomplete pass.
I also watched every incompletion that he threw to see how many were to be blamed on inaccuracy vs. him intentionally throwing the ball out of bounds to play it safe:
-First incompletion bounced short to Decker
-Second incompletion short right to Royal, out of bounds
-Third incompletion thrown out of bounds toward Thomas
-Fourth incompletion thrown completely out of bounds toward Thomas
-Fifth incompletion was on fumble in end zone, blah blah, thrown to the feet of Thomas
-Sixth incompletion thrown out of bounds towards Thomas
-Seventh incompletion thrown out of bounds towards Ball
-Eight incompletion thrown out of bounds towards Royal
-Ninth incompletion thrown out of bounds towards Thomas
-Tenth incompletion thrown too far ahead of Thomas
-Eleventh incompletion thrown way over Willis’ head
I’d say that five of his passes (4,6,7,8,9) were clearly intentional throw aways.
Four (1,2,3,11) were bad, inaccurate passes.
One pass (10) looked like a bad route to Thomas, might have been a bad throw.
The fifth was a play that no one else could have made and the fact that he even got the ball off was incredible. I think he was throwing the ball away toward a WR.
So at the very least, five of his eleven incompletions were intentional. At the most eight of his eleven incompletions were not his fault. In my opinion seven of his incompletions were not because of inaccurate throws.
It’s safe to say that all of those incompletions were because he was playing it safe. His WR’s were covered tight on every play except for the throw in front of Thomas (questionable route), and they were all thrown where his WR’s could have POSSIBLY made a play, but the defender definitely could not have.
But, if you’re a Tebow fan, which I’m not, you could probably say that Tebow’s incompletions have more to do with caring more about team/victory than personal statistics. He doesn’t care about forcing completions if the negative could outweigh the positive.