The 2011 season for the Denver Broncos might be the most improbable and amazing season in NFL history. After starting the season 1-4 that saw Kyle Orton finally benched in favor of “the worst starting quarterback in the NFL”, they went on an historic run winning 7 of 8 games that led to an AFC West title and a playoff berth.
As we continue our series of greatest Broncos games of the 2010s, we’re going to be running straight through Tebowmania and while almost every one of his wins as a starting quarterback are noteworthy, we only picked a handful. The first of to make the cut from this amazing 2011 season was a Thursday Night Football game at home against the New York Jets.
The game quickly turned into a low-scoring defensive struggle that saw them tied up at 3 a piece at halftime. The Jets were the first to get things going capping a 75-yard drive with a touchdown. To hammer the defensive battle point home, that touchdown was only scored after the Jets recovered their own fumble that was forced by D.J. Williams in the end zone to put them up 10-3.
However, late in the third quarter, the Broncos defense showed up against with an pick six by Andre Goodman who took the pick 26-yards for the game-tying touchdown.
The Jets would add a field goal in the fourth quarter that would set the stage for peak Tebow Time. Let’s break this drive down play-by-amazing-play. Well, almost. I skipped a few nonessential plays.
The drive started deep in their own territory and nearly started with disaster as Tebow tossed outside to Eddie Royal who was nearly tackled for a safety. Instead, he dodged the attempt and turned it up field for a solid gain.
On the very next play, Tebow easily found some running lanes for big gain that really set the momentum up for this drive.
Tebow showed some rare arm strength and accuracy on the next play as he rolled out and threw a bullet outside to Demaryius Thomas near the first down marker.
Two plays later, Darrelle Revis famously made a business decision as Tebow barreled towards him with his shoulders lowered. It was unlikely he could have stopped or even slowed Tebow down on that play anyway, because he was definitely in steamroll mode there.
Another intermediate pass completion put the Broncos inside field goal range and set the stage for Tebow to do Tebow-like things.
I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when this play occurred - mostly because I incurred the wrath of my wife for it. It was late Thursday night and I’m watching the game in our bedroom, which happens to be right across the hall from our sleeping 18 month old daughter. Tebow breaks through and runs through and scores through while this dad forgets all other things in the world and screams loudly with the crowd.
Daughter wakes up. Wife is pissed. Husband saying sorry over and over while inside still euphoric over the touchdown. That was my personal experience from this game, so of course it had to make the top 24 cut of this Greatest Broncos games of the 2010s series.