Tebow Sends Patriots Back To The Drawing Board
"We were able to do some good things and in the passing game had some big plays, and I think we had a lot of confidence going in. We just needed to get a little momentum and get things going. [WR Demaryius Thomas] DT really stepped up, and [TE Daniel] Fells really had a huge game, [WR] Eddie [Royal] had a huge game. A lot of guys really stepped up. Unfortunately [WR Eric Decker] Deck got hurt, but a lot of guys really stepped up. They made me look a lot better than I really am, so it was good."
On a balanced offense
"Anytime you can really have great balance, I definitely think it makes it harder to defend. It keeps defenses off balance and keeps them guessing a little bit. That's definitely our goal."
On the carry-over effect after having a great game
"Every week is a new week. You can't focus on the past whether it was good, whether it was bad. I think each week you learn from it, but each week is a new week. It's a new game, new stadium. We can't be thinking about last week when we're in Foxboro. We have to be focused on the Patriots and what they're doing."
On his life since Sunday
"To be honest, I haven't really done too much. I've either been at my house or been here, and that's pretty much how it's been for me most of the season. But I enjoy both those places."
On Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels
"He's a very good coach, and I wish him nothing but the best. I'm very thankful for him having the confidence in drafting me, but I'm very excited about the coaches we have here - [Offensive Coordinator] Coach [Mike] McCoy, [Quarterbacks] Coach [Adam] Gase, [Head] Coach [John] Fox - and those coaches have done a great job. I've very thankful for playing for those coaches. I'm looking forward to playing a great team in New England. It will be a very exciting game."
On what he improved on Sunday
"Hopefully I'm improving every week. That's my goal. Every week I think you do some things better, some things maybe not as good, and I think we were able to hit our shots when we took them on Sunday. I felt like I was able to manage the game pretty well for the most part. When it wasn't there, maybe get a few first downs scrambling, but I know there is definitely a lot of room for improvement. We got right back in here and started watching it, and we know we have to get better every week if we want to get another win."
On pulling the trigger
"I feel comfortable with whatever they want me to do. Whatever they ask me to do, I'm going to do it with all my heart and try to do it to the best of my ability."
On playing more aggressively
"Yes. I think I did play pretty aggressive in the game. We were playing a very good team, a very good defense. I think you have to be willing to take some chances to make some big plays against them because they have so many big playmakers, so many good guys that are rushing to get to the quarterback. Our offensive line did a great job, and our receivers stepped up and made huge plays."
On the Patriots defense
"(New England Head Coach Bill Belichick) is a great head coach. They have a great scheme, a lot of great players. They do a lot of different things. I think we have to be prepared. We will have a great game plan, but we have to be prepared for a lot of different looks and also do a great job on the sideline of adjusting to what they're doing and making our corrections on certain things and having great communication on the side line as well. They do a great job. He's confused a lot of great quarterbacks and stopped a lot of good offenses, so we'll have to be prepared for a very good scheme and a very good defense."
On playing against Josh McDaniels
"It will be fun. It will be exciting, not just because of that, but because we're playing the New England Patriots. We get a chance to play Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in Foxboro. It's another round in the playoffs, and that's exciting. Congratulations to him for getting that position, but, honestly, we're not thinking about it. We're focused on playing a very good New England Patriots team. The rest is the rest."
On the last meeting
"You definitely can find some positive things in that. We drove the ball really well for most of the game. We had three turnovers where we dropped the ball on the ground, and we felt like we gave them - I don't know how many points they got off of that - 13, 17 points, whatever they got off it. That gave them the upper hand, but I think if we can limit turnovers, play a very sound game and execute, I think we'll have a chance."
On the offense without WR Eric Decker
"Eric is a great player. He's been huge for us all year, but we have a lot of guys that really stepped up in the game and a lot of guys that played well today in practice. I'm proud of them and [WR] Matt Willis, [WR] Eddie Royal, DT [WR Demaryius Thomas] and those guys will step up. They'll do their job. I'm really proud of them."
On the attention surrounding him
"I'm not sure. I haven't really paid attention to too much outside this building or games. I just pretty much try to be focused. That's pretty much it."
On where this season's story is
"I guess the next chapter. None of us exactly know, but it's a fun journey. It's exciting every week trying to learn and get better, and not just looking forward to the destination but enjoying the journey and have fun every day. That's what I'm trying to do and really just live out my dream as well as get better and try to get better at the game that I'm playing."
On proving critics wrong
"It was a big win for us. It was very exciting because we were able to beat a very good Pittsburgh Steelers team, at home, in front of our fans. That memory will definitely be very special to me and to many of my teammates and coaches. That definitely means a lot. It's one game. It's a playoff game, so it's big. But I'm not going to look too much into it. It's just one game. We have another big one this week."
On the Patriots defensive scheme
"They do a lot of different things. You have to be prepared for that, and they do them well. They're very smart, instinctive players that are coached up very well. I think, for us, it's just executing, holding onto the ball, not turning it over and being sound in what we do and finding a way to get some big plays. If we do that, hopefully we can control the ball and keep it out of Brady's hands."
©2012 Denver Broncos Football Club. All rights reserved.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – Bury the blueprints on how to thwart Tim Tebow. He can beat you with his arm as well as his legs.
The formula up until last weekend was to stack the box and dare him to beat you with all those errant passes.
But coming off his worst game as a pro, the most maligned quarterback in football morphed into a conventional quarterback Sunday in snapping out of a three-game funk and sending the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers to an early playoff exit.
Tebow, whose record-setting redemption kept Denver’s thrilling roller coaster of a season roaring right along, is more challenging than ever to defend. So, the top-seeded New England Patriots are preparing for deep passes as much as the Broncos’ bothersome read-option offense.
“They’re a tough team to prepare for because they do a lot of different things,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “There aren’t really any other teams like them in the league, so there’s no other team you can really draw that experience from. What they do offensively is a little bit unique.”
After relying all season on the league’s best ground game, Tebow turned into an Aaron Rodgers-Drew Brees-Tom Brady lookalike by throwing for 316 yards against the league’s No. 1 defense in his first playoff appearance.
It wasn’t just his 80-yard bullet to Demaryius Thomas, which allowed the Broncos to beat the Steelers 29-23 on the first play of overtime. In the second quarter, Tebow completed four passes of 30 yards or better, something that hadn’t been done in the NFL in half a century.
Belichick insists this isn’t Tebow 2.0, however.
“I think he’s done a lot of those things all year,” Belichick said. “He had a great game against Pittsburgh, no doubt about it. But he’s played well throughout the season, whether it be managing the team, making decisions, running the ball, throwing the ball, scrambling, any and all of the above. He’s a good football player.”
One who’s now multidimensional.
At John Elway’s urging, Tebow was more aggressive Sunday, heeding his boss’s advice to “pull the trigger.”
“Yeah, I think I did play pretty aggressive in the game,” Tebow said Tuesday after the Broncos returned to work following their exhilarating weekend win. “We were playing a very good team, very good defense. And you have to be willing to take some chances to make some big plays against them, because they have so many good players and so many good guys that are rushing, getting to the quarterback. And the offensive line did a great job and the receivers stepped up and made huge plays.”
The Broncos (9-8) need an encore performance to beat the heavily favored and well-rested Patriots (13-3).
Tebow’s 31.6 yards per completion Sunday were the second-most ever for an NFL quarterback in the regular season or playoffs, surpassed only by Joe Namath’s 33.7-yard average against Baltimore in September 1972.
“It was big for us because in this league, you have to keep people off balance,” wide receiver Eddie Royal said. “Before last week, people knew they had to stop the run. Stop the run and shut down our offense. But now, they have to second-guess themselves, `Oh, they can throw the ball and be explosive and make some pass plays.’”
It was the Broncos’ reliance on the run that sold the play-fake on the first snap of overtime – they had rushed on 23 of 25 first downs up to that point.
“It’s always good to see us get the big passes, especially because everyone says we can’t throw the ball,” said tailback Willis McGahee, who had implored the Broncos to improve their passing attack to enhance an already stout ground game.
The Broncos’ formula during their eight wins under Tebow had been to play stout defense and spectacular on special teams to keep the grind-it-out offense within striking distance until Tebow could pull off his last-minute magic.
Now, they’re mixing in explosive plays.
And Tebow doesn’t have to be pinpoint with his passes if the safeties come up and cornerbacks cover the receivers 1-on-1 because his reads will be simpler. He’ll have more margin for error if players such as Thomas, who has great hands, have more room to maneuver and fewer defensive backs to get in his way.
“We were just waiting for him to come out and play the way we knew he could and show everybody,” Royal said.
Eric Decker, who sprained his left knee on the first play of the second quarter last week, isn’t expected to play against the Patriots.
Although he was the Broncos’ best receiver in the regular season, with 44 catches for 612 yards and eight touchdowns, half his scores came with Kyle Orton at quarterback. Tebow’s top target was actually Thomas, who caught every one of his 32 receptions for 551 yards and four TDs from the lefty.
Over the last two months, Thomas has been one of the most dominating players in the league despite playing in a conservative offense that doesn’t allow receivers to strut their stuff too much.
On Sunday, he amassed 204 yards on just four receptions.
“I remember watching him at Georgia Tech and seeing this guy,” Royal said. “He didn’t get many opportunities there. But when he got them, he made big plays and that’s the type of player that he is. I can’t imagine what he would do with 20 targets a game. The sky’s the limit for this kid. I just hope he continues to get better and I know he will.”
In an interesting twist, former Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, who took a chance by drafting both Thomas and Tebow in the first round two years ago, has rejoined the Patriots’ staff in time to help them try to end Denver’s season.
“You know, he’s a very good coach and I wish him nothing but the best, and I’m very thankful for him having the confidence in drafting me,” Tebow said. “But I’m very excited about the coaches that we have here.”
Notes: With Decker down, the Broncos promoted wide receiver D’Andre Goodwin from their practice squad Tuesday and placed fullback Spencer Larsen (knee) on IR. … Besides Decker, DE Elvis Dumervil (right ankle), TE Daniel Fells (unspecified injury), and safeties Brian Dawkins (neck) and David Bruton (Achilles) were held out of practice. … Denver’s coordinators Mike McCoy and Dennis Allen can interview for head coaching jobs with the Jaguars and Rams, respectively, starting Thursday afternoon.
By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)