By Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff
The Tebow is not a quarterback. The Tebow is a life decision. So what side are you on?
Denver quarterback Tim Tebow runs with authority and passes with mediocrity. He also tends to win big games, none more so than the 29-23 overtime shocker over Pittsburgh. We’ll see if the on-again, off-again trend continues this week in Foxboro.
Tim After Tim: Which one of these guys is going to show up? The one who went 0-3 to wrap up the season, finishing with a miserable 7-3 loss to Kansas City at home and needing the Raiders to turtle and miss the playoffs? Or the one who averaged over 30 yards per pass completion vs. the Steelers?
The way the Broncos win, coupled with Tebow’s outspoken religious beliefs seem aligned so perfectly, so improbably, that even Mitch Albom couldn’t write this book.
Cruel Runnings: Tebow takes over the ground like Cortez took over Mexico – relentlessly and, as he believed, with a higher power in mind. If New England begins the game at Gillette the same way they did at Mile High (giving up 167 yards rushing in the fourth quarter), Sunday churchgoers across the country will end up donning the orange and blue.
The Passed And The Present: Denver fooled Pittsburgh with a lot of play-action passes. The Steelers proved stubborn in leaving safety help downfield, a display of inflexibility that ended up biting them in overtime on the 80-yard TD pass.
Doctor Rosenrosen: Looks like much of this game will come down to what the Patriots’ defense can do, and that will depend on linebackers Dane Fletcher and Brandon Spikes. If Fletcher gets blocked, Spikes can come in for stronger run support, but pass coverage suffers with his lack of speed.
There’s A Tom And A Place: Quarterback Tom Brady had a rough start at Denver but got on track in the second quarter, leading the way for 41 points. Will he get on track at home from the start?
If not during this game, when?
And I Love Her…nandez: The Broncos held Lilliputian receiver Wes Welker and Brobdingnagian tight end Rob Gronkowski to 94 yards combined the last time these two teams met. Hernandez made the difference with nine catches for 129 yards, and could do so again.
If not he, then who?
Branch Out, Or Branch In? Who can play third receiver? Can Deion Branch make a difference? Will it matter? Will Brady keep an eye out for ol’ Chad Eight-Five (English translation)? Will he look Tiquan Underwood’s way once or twice? Exactly how many questions can I ask in this paragraph?
Safety Pinned: Looks like the coaching staff is attempting to relieve hopeless Devin McCourty from his pain at cornerback by switching him to safety. Might work. Can’t be much worse than what he’s done this year. I’ve seen better corners at the Guggenheim Museum.
(Kind of a visual joke there. Just go with it.)
Just Joshing: If former Denver head coach Josh McDaniels can come in as Patriots offensive assistant and make a difference, that would prove a major coup by Coach Bill Belichick. If not? Eh, it was worth a shot.
Another home playoff game this year. Let’s hope for another next week.
Email Chris Warner at firstname.lastname@example.org