Curious to see if they open the playbook for Tebow or continue to roll themselves into another blowout… I can hardly wait.
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Official mantra for today – ‘Thank God it's the Texans' at least the matchup should be pretty close. Houston takes the kick and promptly bust out three and a punt – perfect time to repeat the mantra – they're making the Broncos defense actually look decent…
Tebow Time Part 1 – Excellent start for the rookie – screen to Moreno net 22, follows up out of the shotgun finding Gaffney, who gets it stripped on the tackle and fumbles into the arms of Ryan Harris… major bullet dodged, at least momentarily. First and ten from the eleven and Tebow looks for the score – unfortunately it lands right in the hands of Texans CB Jason Allen for the pick. So much for the excellent start – just keep telling myself there's a learning curve – and Thank God it's the Texans.
Third time's a charm for Houston – Matt Schaub starts it on his own nine and scorches the Broncos D on a sweet six play drive that covers the length of the field. Arian Foster carries it in from the three – Broncos once again start off trailing – Houston on top 7-0.
Broncos respond nicely on the first play - Tebow to Brandon Lloyd nets 19-yards. From that point on it's all downhill. Up the middle for no gain, incomplete pass and a QB scramble for one… Something tells me Broncos punter Britton Colquitt's going to get a ton of TV time.
First quarter closes out with Schaub facing second and nine from his own 15. Starting to get a real bad feeling about this.
Déjà vu all over again – Schaub looks great – draw your own conclusions for the Denver defense – Six plays, eighty-six yards and we're staring at the wrong side of another double-digit lead. Cascade of boos from the Broncos faithfull – or what's what's left of them anyway – Texans hold a commanding 14-0 lead.
Flashes of brilliance, flashes of incompetence – today we've got it all. Drive covers nearly three-quarters of the field but stalls outside field goal range – More time for Colquitt, Schaub will take it at his own twenty.
Mantra apparently is working correctly – it's going to be a long day.
Rare sighting at Invesco – Broncos D holds Schaub and Co. to a grand total six-yards – maybe the mantra is working afterall – Thanks to an illegal block above the waist Denver will start it at their own nine – nice way to bury yourself.
Back to back – keeping it on the ground with Moreno and they're still six-yards shy – back to the screen pass for Gaffney, who nearly gets decapitated – ball falls incomplete. End result - another three and out.
Texans keep it rolling on an extremely short field – drive starts at the Houston 47 and four plays later hits the Broncos 42 at the two minute warning. Never seen Gary Kubiak smile so much – drive finishes out with a Neil Rackers chip shot from 34 – first half slams shut with Denver trailing 17-0…
And you wonder why I drink?
I'm going to try and stay upbeat about this – maybe this is the turning point… Lance Ball on the ground picks up 15 big ones and then Tebow unloads it – BEAUTIFUL shot straight down the middle to Gaffney is good for another fifty. Tack on another nine for keeping it on the ground and the finale is taken in by Correll Buckhalter from the six.
It only took thirty-minutes of game time but the Broncos have finally scored – Eighty-yards in four plays - this could be the start of something big – Houston leads 17-7.
Don't get too confident – Schaub's still got a little magic – chains keep moving and Houston crosses midfield. Incomplete to Daniels but Champ Bailey comes up limping – trainers tend his ankle on the sideline. Renewed nois from the Broncos faithfull – short pass to Daniels comes up short and the Texans gamble – 54-yards out Rackers sends it straight down the middle – two for two and Houston increases the lead 20-7.
Tebow Time Part Two – pass to Lloyd pops for a quick 18, back to the long ball and back to Lloyd – 41-yards and a bailout catch – ball is inside the red zone. Ball off tackle takes it down to the nine where it stalls – incomplete to Royal forces the kick. Hauschka sneaks it in and the Broncos creep a little closer at 20-10.
Crowd is back in it – but Schaub isn't real concerned – he's too busy moving the chains. Houston continues to exploit Denver's weaknesses and Neil Rackers continues to love the altitude – perfect split from 57-yards out and the Texans continue the madness. Frustration sure can get ugly…
Clock closes out on Denver as Tebow and Co. near midfield – needless to say, time is NOT on the Broncos side.
Despite the score, I'm impressed with Tebow – dude's got a lot of confidence for a rookie – hits Lloyd for 18-yards on the sideline and advances it to the Houston 31. Field goals aren't going to cut it – Broncos have got to find the end zone.
Tebow on the QB draw secures the first on Houston's 20 – botched snap spoils the play and the Broncos are looking at 2nd and 11. Out of the shotgun it backfires, QB sack.for a loss of 3 and it boils down to third and 14 from the 23. Tebow to Buckhalter pulls it off – Buck goes cross field and finds paydirt – Broncos are back in it 23-17 and the crowd is feeling it. Just under 11:00 left on the clock.
It's all up to the Broncos defense… which is kind of scary. 70,000+ are out of control and it's beginning to pay off - Schaub can't find the handle and the Broncos force the punt. Tebow and Co. will get their shot starting at their own 24.
Tebow's no Elway – but he's showing a whole lot more potential than anyone else over the past ten years. Ball advances past midfield – Texans bring the blitz and the reaction is perfect – scrambles for the first and they're down to the 16-yard line. Tebow off tackle picks up six and there's life at Invesco Field.
Tebow looks for the end zone – Royal draws the pass interference penalty and they're one-yard from taking the lead… make that six-yards out thanks to a false start on Kuper, but there's no worries – Tebow out of the shotgun ignites it – around the left side and he walks untouched into the end zone – Broncos take their first lead of the game 24-23 with just under three minutes left on the clock…
Schaub battles the noise - from the sound of it, you'd think it was a Super Bowl – Texans roll it from the 17 to the 45 as we hit the two-minute warning. Second and ten is going to get loud – Schaub out of the shotgun hits Dressen for fifteen and the chains are moved. Broncos bring the heat but it's complete to Foster at the 40 – they're working to get anywhere close for Rackers. Back to the shotgun – deflected at the line the ball bounces straight into the arms of Syd'Quan Thompson.
Game, Set, Match – the Tim Tebow era has officially begun.
Three easy kneels for the Messiah and you couldn't pry the ball out of his hands with dynamite. This one's for TIM… never imagined hitting the four win mark would feel so good.
Merry Christmas Mr. Tebow – Welcome to Denver.
Notes and Quotes from the Locker Room to follow
Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past twelve-years. As a member of the Pro Football Writers Association he has published and syndicated columns to both newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada. His syndicated radio broadcast: "Schon Live" airs weekly on various radio and Internet stations around the country. You can follow all of Schon's updates on Twitter - Facebook or drop him an email at Michael John Schon
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