Call it what you want - miraculous, unbelievable, improbable, lucky - the ride that Tebow and the Broncos are on right now is some of the most entertaining and thrilling football the league as seen in years. And it’s not just Tebow making it happen. That defense is making happen. Matt Prater and his booming leg is making it happen. And yes, there is Tim Tebow out there making things happen as well. In truth, the Broncos could have put this game away much earlier had Tebow’s receivers made a few simple catches because once Tebow gets into a rhythm he can get a decent passing game going, but it’s hard to find that rhythm if you’re receivers are dropping on-target passes.If the Broncos want to win next week against the Patriots, they’re going to need to get that fourth-quarter magic happening much earlier, but this week, all they needed was a couple minutes at the end of the game and a little time in over-time.
Week 14: Denver 13, Chicago 10 - Tebow and the Broncos had some chances early in this game, but dropped passes and a blocked field goal kept them scoreless until the very last possible moment. Meanwhile, Devin Hester once again worked his magic and helped the Bears get into position with yet another phenomenal punt return. Yet despite being up 10 to nothing, with just a couple minutes left, that was all Tebow and the Broncos needed. In truth, I think the whole Tebow phenomena is getting into the heads of other teams; there’s no other way to explain the melt-down of the Bears at the end of this game. But whatever the case, those mistakes and the clutch-kicking of Prater gave the Broncos another improbable win. Despite a quiet first three quarters, Tebow unleashed 21 of 40 for 236 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT in the final quarter and overtime. That’s a far cray from the 12 of 22 for 150 yards he had in our sim. McGahee meanwhile, couldn’t match the 123 yards in our sim, getting only 34 yards in the real game. But Tebow helped out with 49 yards of his own. Despite some big drops, Thomas came through when it counted as well with 7 catches for 78 yards and a key TD. Most importantly, the defense was able to force a fumble when it was needed most. All in all, the game didn’t turn out much like our sim except for the W at the end. Will the Broncos do it again this week, or since they’re facing a fairly potent offense for the first time since being pounded by the Lions, will their style of football prove to be ineffective against a “real” NFL team? Regardless, with Denver in the lead in the AFC West and just three weeks left, it’s going to be a wild ride into the playoffs. It’s also going to be a whole lot of thrilling fun.
Tebow and the Broncos are on a roll, and far from expecting the “other shoe to drop” anytime soon, many expect it to continue right into the playoffs. However, the Bears’ defense isn’t anything to dismiss. They’re taking it as a personal challenge to find a way to stop Tebow. Even if they do, can their damaged offense muster enough to outscore Denver? The answers to all these questions and more are (possibly) revealed in this week’s Madden 12 WWTD.
Week 14: Denver 20, Chicago 13 - Matt Forte wasn’t injured in this sim like he will be for the real game, and his impact was immediately apparent. On the first play of the game, he broke a couple of tackles and sprinted for an 80 yard TD. Frustrating doesn’t begin to describe it, and it made me very glad he won’t actually be playing. The Broncos got the ball and chipped away at the Bears’ defense to get into field goal range for a 45 yarder. The Bears then too the rest of the first quarter to close in on another score, which fortunately the Denver D just limited to a 28 yard field goal.
As the second quarter opened, Denver once again methodically chipped away at the defense and the yardage. It was apparent that the Bears weren’t going to give Tebow any room to run, but despite a few drops, his receivers were getting open and making plays. More importantly, while the Bears were stuffing Tebow, McGahee was finding plenty of space to run, and he capped off a long drive with a 19 yard TD sprint.
On their ensuing drive, the Bears looked like they would keep pace with the Broncos, but a deep pass ended up in the wrong hands…or, in the right hands for Denver fans. Following the interception, Tebow was able to get the Broncos in range for a 52 yard field goal before the end of the half.
The third quarter turned out to be fairly quiet. The Bears defense wasn’t about to let Denver score on the opening drive, and after trading a few punts, Chicago’s offense was able to get close enough for a 34 yard field goal to tie the game.
However, this situation isn’t new for the Broncos, and they once again put together a long, methodical drive that eventually ended with a 3 yard TD sprint from Ball.
With the Broncos up and little time left on the clock, Forte became less of a threat, and Haine was harried by the Broncos D. Turning it over on downs, the Broncos ran out the rest of the clock and walked away with another win.
Forte racked up 153 yards on the ground for the Bears, but 80 of that came on the first play, so Denver did a decent job of containing him after the one big play. Still, it’s probably a good thing for the real Broncos that he won’t be playing. While they didn’t get a sack, the Denver D did knock Haine down several times and forced several bad passes, which will be their formula for success in the real game. Meanwhile, Tebow only had 12 yards on the ground, but he completed 12 of 22 for 150 yards; no TDs but no INTs either. McGahee ran free for most of the game, gaining 123 yards and 1 TD. So it was a team effort; the defense got it done and the offense controlled the clock and scored the points they needed. Can the Broncos truly continue their winning ways and find a way into the playoffs? We shall see.