The Steelers allowed only three touchdowns in their final six regular-season games, and it’s difficult to envision them getting into a shootout Sunday in Denver.
It’s even harder to imagine them losing to the Broncos considering how much “Tebow mania” has ebbed since Tim Tebow delivered one of his patented comeback victories that put Denver at 8-5 and seemingly at the center of the NFL universe.
Since the Broncos stole a 13-10 win from the Bears last month -– the Jay Cutler-less and Matt Forte-less Bears, it should be pointed out –- Tebow has completed just 41.4 percent of his passes and has committed seven turnovers.
His struggles are a testament to how NFL defenses adjust to offensive innovations or gimmicks, and there is a fine line between the two. Or they are an affirmation of those that contend Tebow can’t throw well enough to succeed as an NFL quarterback.
The many critics Tebow has had since well before he threw his first NFL pass is one reason why Steelers inside linebacker James Farrior found himself cheering for the former Heisman Trophy winner.
“I root for the underdogs,” Farrior said. “A lot of people hated on him.”
Farrior is not one of them.
“He is the guy we have to stop,” the Steelers’ defensive captain said. “No doubt about it. The guy is a winner and a competitor. He is something that we haven’t seen in a long time in a quarterback. He does a lot of things with his feet, and we have to be prepared for that.”
Tebow has been largely contained as a runner the last three games, and the Chiefs completely shut him down in a 7-3 win last Sunday.
Tebow isn’t likely to beat the Steelers, not with the number of veterans and difference-makers they have on defense.
But, as Farrior pointed out, if Denver keeps the game close at home Tebow could find a way to win it at the end. The Steelers would prefer not to find out if Tebow can do that once again, in his first NFL playoff game no less.
As outside linebacker James Harrison said of playing the Broncos, “Hey, I’m just trying not to get Tebowed.”
– Scott Brown