Tim Tebow-led rally falls short, Chargers move to 4-1


Tim Tebow’s appearance after halftime probably would have been enough to make Broncos fans feel good about losing to the Chargers even if he didn’t lead two touchdown drives and give them a longshort chance to win on the final play of the game.

Tebow did those things, though, and that’s why it feels like the 29-24 loss was the start of a new era under center in Denver. Tebow didn’t throw the ball particularly well and the third quarter looked a lot like the first two, but he eventually moved the team well enough to get them a chance to pull off the upset. Tebow ran three straight times for 23 yards and a score with a little under seven minutes to play and then, after a key challenge by John Fox got what was ruled an incomplete pass changed into a fumble by Philip Rivers, the Broncos got the ball back in Chargers territory. Tebow ran for eight more yards and then hit Knowshon Moreno on a short pass that the running back turned into a touchdown.

Tebow’s two-point conversion pass to Brandon Lloyd was broken up and the Chargers put together a three-minute drive that wound up with Nick Novak’s fifth field goal of the day. Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams picked up a bad unnecessary roughness penalty to help the Chargers down the field, but the Chargers were able to move the ball most of the day — 418 total yards — on the Denver defense without any outside help. They failed to cash in with touchdowns in the red zone and turned the ball over twice, two big reasons why Tebow got a shot to win the game.

Tebow had a shot at the very end, scrambling for eons before throwing a pass that Matthew Willis couldn’t grab in the end zone. He completed two passes for 51 yards to move the team in position, but those passes come with a pair of asterisks. They were his only downfield completions of the game and both came against prevent defense, so there’s clearly a lot of work that needs to be done. That work isn’t going to get done on the bench, though. Given how little Orton moved the team on offense and how much Tebow got done in the fourth, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Fox opt for a more permanent change especially with his team 1-4 and going nowhere fast.

That’s a lot of chatter about a losing quarterback, so let’s turn back to the Chargers. They are now 4-1 and a game ahead of the Raiders in the AFC West, but there’s still a sense that they aren’t doing what they need to do on the field. They almost blew a 16-point lead today, continuing a trend of struggling to win games against mediocre or worse teams this season. Wins are wins, but you’d like to see more from a team that was talked about as a Super Bowl contender coming into the season. There are excuses for Sunday’s second half — Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert both left with injuries after gashing the Broncos in the first half — but the simple fact is that we’ve yet to see a full 60 minutes from the Chargers this season.

Maybe that’s a good thing and they’ll be a juggernaut when they finally put together a complete game. Or it could be a sign of bad things to come when the Chargers’ schedule forces them up in class.

70 responses to “Tim Tebow-led rally falls short, Chargers move to 4-1

  1. Tebow had a couple drops and a catchable ball that Eric Decker could have taken to the house, and still finished with a passer rating over 100. His career passer rating continues to move ahead of fellow 2010 draft picks Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, etc.

  2. Tebow played and didn’t win the game?
    How is that possible? I thought he was “God’s signal-caller!” What gives?

  3. Any questions Orton fans?

    This team was dead with Ordinary Orton at the helm. Tebow comes in and almost rallies them back for the win. The Tebow-haters will reference Tim’s sketchy accuracy and ugly throwing motion… but who cares?!? The team had life when he was in and he gave them a chance to win. That’s all that matters and it’s more than you can say about the team when Orton is in there.

  4. “His career passer rating continues to move ahead of fellow 2010 draft picks Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, etc.”

    Which isnt saying much….

    4-of-10 passes for 79 yards with a touchdown and added six rushes for 38 yards with another score. He will be limited by poor mechanics and footwork, but his legs give a chance to produce. It’s Tebow time!

  5. Chargers may not be winning pretty but 4-1 is 4-1. If the team was truly bad they would have found a way to lose some of the games.

  6. This team is definitely not going to win with Orton, so we should not waste any more games with him as starter. They are 1-4 and have to figure out what they have with Tebow. Let him play out the string and let the chips fall where they may. Don’t prop him up because he is Tim Tebow and don’t bash him because he is Tim Tebow. Just let the guy play QB so we can figure out what we have.

    He damn near singlehandedly won the game for the Broncos today, with no practice reps and having been thrown into a bad situation. Let the guy just play, and so the team can decide whether he is the guy or whether to go QB in the 2012 draft.

  7. Tebow punks Mr Elway The Talking Horsehead, and The Old Man White Haired Fox. Everyone whining about his passing, he is 10 points better than Bradford and McCoy in his NFL career so far. Not even bringing his running skill into the equation.

  8. So Tebow completes FOUR passes, gets all his yards on ONE play, a screen, and he’s somehow a hero? You people are CRAZY! Fox and the Broncos are being undermined by the divisive Tebow fanatics.

  9. Tebow has a higher yard per completion average than any QB in the league for the season and for his career.

  10. icanspeel says: Oct 9, 2011 8:23 PM

    Chargers may not be winning pretty but 4-1 is 4-1. If the team was truly bad they would have found a way to lose some of the games.
    We’ll see about that when they finally start playing decent teams.

  11. Fair warning to Broncos fans. John Fox is one of the most stubborn coaches in the NFL today. He will do whatever he wants. . . period. You can ask any Panthers fan.

    He may want Orton or Tebow next week but nothing (including reality) will make him play anyone he does not want to put on the field.

  12. Favreforever, he has a better QB rating than Bradford and McCoy? That is quite the accomplishment. Is his QB rating higher than Jimmy Clausen’s too?

  13. Broncos fans would rather lose with Tebow than lose with Orton. At least Tebow seems to give a chance to win. What that chance is may be low, but it’s better than zero. Orton’s done in Denver.

  14. joetoronto says:
    Oct 9, 2011 8:10 PM
    The Chargers are the worst 4-1 team in recent memory.
    You dont know what you’re talking about. San Diego is 1st in 3rd down conversion and 1st in time of position, and their offense is ranked fifth. What the real issue was the loss of Darren Sproles, who’s given the Saints a burst. San Diego may play down to the competition, but they arent remotely the worst 4-1 team.

  15. I thought he was “God’s signal-caller!” What gives?

    At least it’s been whittled down to just one of you so far.

  16. How did this topic get dropped completely from the main page for PFT?

    Is it because it’s Tebow?

    What did that poor kid do to so many people to make them hate him so much?

  17. Gimme the popcorn, I am going to enjoy watching the Broncos continue to unravel. Soon we will be hearing “Brady, Brady, Brady…” chants lol.

  18. For all the San Diego apologists the 4 teams they’ve beat coming into this weekend had a combined win total of something like 3. They should have lost to the Vikings and could have lost to the Chiefs and Broncos. They have a ridiculously weak first part of the schedule and will get a real taste of reality as the years go on. The Raiders are more impressive and I’m a Chiefs fan

  19. Tebow could win the next 10 superbowls and the haters would still find something to hate Tebow for.

  20. The dis-Chargers are 4-1 against teams with 2 combined wins. Yep, just wait until their schedule gets difficult.

  21. Having watched the Broncos for over 35 years I can say that the last time I saw a QB get a city and others on his team excited like Tim Tebow did today was when John Elway arrived in 1983.

    It was like the minute he came in the offense and the defense immediately started playing better. He was doing things out there that Orton can’t or won’t do. When Elway was here you always knew that the threat of him running for the first down or rolling out and improvising a pass play existed.

    And, yes, I realize that his mechanics, footwork, downfield reads and other things need work. But after Orton’s performance today you need to ask yourself what the Broncos have to lose by starting him the rest of the way. Orton had 5 games to prove that he deserves to be the starter. Of the first 5 games only the Green Bay game could have been considered unwinnable. All of the others were ones they could have won. Tim Tebow at least deserves a chance.

    In Elway’s rookie season he won only 4 of the 10 games he started. Gary Kubiak and Steve DeBerg won the other 5 games. But Elway picked up experience in that year and led them to the playoffs in 3 of the next 4 seasons. If Tim Tebow does not start more games no one is ever going to know what he can or can’t do.

    All of the talk about his mechanics may have some validity. However if you look back at some of the really good QB’s, very few had the prefect set up and release. Most scouts thought that Johnny Unitas and Len Dawson were OK at best. Otto Graham threw the ball with his thumb on the laces. Terry Bradshaw like to hold the ball with his index finger on the point of the ball. Bernie Kosar was far from prefect but sure won some games for Cleveland. Ken Stabler did not have the best attempt to completion ratio, but he could beat you six ways from Sunday. (Just ask the Dolphins about the 1974 AFC divisional playoff game .) The one thing that these guys had in common was a desire to win. Jeff George was technically a very good QB. But he was a head case.

    The Broncos may be shopping Orton around to try and re-coup some of their investment in him before the trade deadline. His contract may be a tough one to swallow for some teams. He is a good game manager but manages to make enough mistakes to lose you the game. The way he played today makes one wonder if he did not play that way on purpose so the Broncos will trade him to another team. Of his 12 wins and 20 losses 8 came in his 2009 season, 3 in 2010 and 1 this year.

    Tebow may not be the “answer”. But then again, neither is Kyle Orton.

  22. Not a San Diego or Denver fan, but the last 10 minutes of that game were fun. Tebow was one unsportsmanlike penalty away from having much more time on the clock for that last series. Without a horse in the show I thought that penalty was ticky tac.

  23. For all you Tebow haters. Think the Dolphins want anything to do with Orton now??

    Yeah didn’t think so. They have no QB AND wouldn’t touch him, not after the way he’s played so far this year.

    Oh, by the way, where was Quinn? I thought according to all YOU experts (Tebow haters) he was # 2. Idiots.

  24. Caught most of this game on Sunday Ticket. Tebow can’t throw, period.

    I guess it doesn’t matter, they’ve got to figure out what they got with him, they spent a 1st rounder on him and the team is going nowhere; might as well give him the job for the rest of the year.

  25. The guy who got the raw deal in this today is Brady Quinn. He TECHNICALLY is the #2 QB, outplayed Tebow all season, and was completely passed over today. I just don’t get this weird obsession with Tim Tebow that people have.

    Quinn really does have skills and he learned them from Tom Brady’s mentor. For the sporadic opportunities given to him by the indecisive Eric Mangini in Cleveland, Quinn really didn’t do that bad as a young QB. Unfortunately, Quinn has been the victim of being on two teams with dysfunctional management.

    If Quinn is going to be this unappreciated in Denver, then trade him to Miami or somewhere that needs a QB and let him finally have the chance to see if he can be an NFL QB.

  26. I don’t understand why people continue to support Orton. The whole world knows what Orton is.

    The Broncos are going to lose. The whole world knows that too.

    Why lose with a vet when you can lose with a young player that may…or may not…develop into something. At least they’ll know at the end of the year if they need a new QB or not.

    The Orton supporters act like the Broncos are choosing between making a Super Bowl run with Orton or rebuilding with Tebow when the team isn’t really good either way.

  27. Id bet my sack of balls, had Orton continued to play, it would have been a blowout, & the Broncos wouldn’t have scored 2 TD’s! Orton wont get a 3rd rd pick if u trade him. Tebow, as i have been saying since preseason, is a winner period! I know he didn’t win tonight, but he started 3 scores in the hole, & yet the loss was much easier to take. Just knowing Orton is done makes me happy!

  28. I love how everyone says wait until the Bolts play some real teams. C’mon ppl, this is the NFL! Yeah, they’re play high school teams now, wait til they start playing college teams! They’re still 4-1 regardless, ugly games but still 4-1.

  29. marsh78:

    If Quinn is TECHNICALLY the # 2 QB, why wasn’t he out there.

    There is no way Quinn outplayed Tebow during the preseason. Do yourself a favor and go educate yourself by looking at the stats. It’s not even close and if you add the last game where Quinn was like 2-12 and it’s easy to see Quinn was never the 2nd string QB. That was manufactured by idiots like YOU because Fox wouldn’t name a # 2. You Tools took that as a sign that Tebow was # 3.

    In 3 1/2 games Tebow has done extremely well in getting the Broncos in the end zone. Stats don’t lie.

    And listen, I’m amazed at the fear all you people have for someone who is very religious and lives his life as an open Christian. It’s as if you all fear he will talk you weak minded people into converting.

    That’s the sad part in all this. I’m a huge Tebow fan, but not so weak minded that if I met the man and he tried to convert me I wouldn’t stand up for myself and tell him that’s not for me. I know what I believe in religiously for MYSELF and can separate my religion or beliefs from football.

    You people are sad, and it astonishes me, that in being so weak minded; that it’s easier for people to want to see someone fail than to stand up for what YOU believe in and not care what someone else does or stands for!!!

  30. “For all you Tebow haters”

    Thanks everyone for starting your comments with this. It lets anyone with any objectivity know nothing useful will follow.

    That was a hell of a TD he threw. The way he made it all the way to the RB on a screen pass.

  31. tatum064 says:
    Oct 9, 2011 8:56 PM
    joetoronto says:
    Oct 9, 2011 8:10 PM
    The Chargers are the worst 4-1 team in recent memory.
    You dont know what you’re talking about. San Diego is 1st in 3rd down conversion and 1st in time of position, and their offense is ranked fifth. What the real issue was the loss of Darren Sproles, who’s given the Saints a burst. San Diego may play down to the competition, but they arent remotely the worst 4-1 team.


    4-1 (or better) NFL teams:

    Green Bay
    New England
    New Orleans
    San Francisco

    There’s not a single team on this list the Chargers would beat right now. Then you can add Washington and Baltimore when they come off bye weeks.

    Thus, you stand corrected, and you’ll see it in action when the cream puff schedule ends.

  32. 1st- How can any christian root against Tim Tebow
    His heart for the game is great.
    I am almost waiting for him to get a chance but would be will to see him like this. Let him come in a game and develop, learn, etc. If You put him in and he fails, the “hope” will fizzle faster.
    If you put him in like this, who knows.

    If I recall Didnt the Colts do something simiular with Jim Harbaiugh? they made him a starter and he took them to a NFC championship but within about 3 years wasnt he done? idk I could be wrong on this.

    I love my Redskins but will be rooting for #15

  33. And all this time the senile, out-of-touch John Fox led on like Quinn was the back-up.

    Fox has no eye for QB talent and simply tried to embarass Tebow but it backfired.

  34. You whiners not happy with Tebow having the best current passer rating of anyone from the 2010 class, he is also better than anyone from 2011 or 2009. Not to mention guys like Elway, Aikman, Anderson, and a host of other Hall of Famers.

  35. Tebow is very exciting, and runs great.

    Unfortunately, in the NFL, the QB has to
    be able to PASS accurately, and anyone who
    saw today’s game knows that–until the
    Chargers went into a deep prevent–Tebow
    couldn’t get the ball to his receivers, throwing
    it mostly at their feet.

    I realize it’s “celebrate Tim” day in here,
    so I’ll get 100 thumbs down…but if you saw
    the game, and are honest, you know it’s the

  36. Call me a Tebow hater, but give the kid a chance at this point. Orton isn’t going to take the team anywhere, so let Tebow show his stuff, if at least to show the fans if he can’t play QB at the NFL level.

  37. “Tebow’s passer rating is better than McCoy an Bradford” ya and Jeff Garcia’s career passer rating is better than Troy Aikman’s. Sooooo he’s a better qb right?

  38. Everyone says Tebow will fail, check this out:
    *Everyone said Matt Cassell was Awesome!
    *Everyone was picking Philadelphia & Dallas
    *Everyone said Cam Newton needed a couple yrs to develop.into an NFL QB
    *Everyone said this would be the Jets year.
    I. Have come to the conclusion, everyone don’t know everything!

  39. Amen gatorfan1. Last year after watching Tebow score against the Jets, playing great against the Raiders in Oakland and rallying the team to beat the Texans (just after a HC change to boot), I admired the energy he brought to the organization.

    He will be the perfect tonic to blend Luck into the fold over the next few years.

    John knows what he is doing.

  40. I’m not a fan of either team, and understand Hail Mary plays seem to bring out the NHL “let ’em play” mentality in NFL officials, but why wasn’t interference called on Dante Hughes for shoving Matt Willis out of the back of the end zone before he makes a play on the ball on the last play of the game?

  41. It looks like the Denver management has tried to distance themselves from Tebow all along. All it would have taken is for Elway to say “Leave Tebow alone, he may be our QB of the future and he’s learning” or better yet “Who is M. Hodge?”. Why wouldn’t they, at the very least, do that? Why not defend a ROOKIE QB (even if he wasn’t your pick) from the scrutiny he’s endured? Wouldn’t you prefer to have doubt never enter into his mind? Unless you wanted him to lose credibility with the fans until you could eventually unload him. Trade/shop him today then. Just make up your mind already.
    Orton and Quinn are known commodities and Tebow is essentially a rookie. Unify your team coach and name a starter. I wouldn’t bet MY money against Tebow being successful.

  42. I say “Let Tebow Play!” I personally do not care, but it seems like the Broncos just plays better with Tebow under center. I don’t know why, either.

    I mean, after a loss, the Broncos fans were chanting “Tebow! Tebow! Tebow!” They are excited! Think about it: The fans are excited about the prospects of a 1-4 football team. All because this guy scrambles, runs and walks around like he’s some sort of champion? Give him the rock!

    Here’s the bottom line: The Broncos are terrible. You might as well give Tebow the rock, see if he can take it and make some off-season moves. Orton isn’t your answer and Brady Quinn is a career backup. You might as well see if you are going to stay with Tebow or try your Luck next year.

  43. Denver is an awesome looking 1-4! What a bunch of losers. Can’t wait to finish the daily double in our house with your erratic who knows what the he’ll he’s going to do with the ball TT at QB. Denver is always full of crap. If they lose the opponent won ugly. Win the donks win ugly is just shows how “they just know how to win”. Hypocritical puzzy losers.

  44. Not a Bronco’s fan but its pretty hard not to see how hard the team played for Tebow. They Rallied around him and that should tell John Fox everything he needs to know…

  45. “I’m not a fan of either team, and understand Hail Mary plays seem to bring out the NHL “let ‘em play” mentality in NFL officials”

    Not to get all picky, but have you heard about all the Shanabans that have been handed down this year?

  46. jjbadd says:
    Oct 10, 2011 12:47 AM
    Everyone says Tebow will fail, check this out:
    *Everyone said Matt Cassell was Awesome!
    *Everyone was picking Philadelphia & Dallas
    *Everyone said Cam Newton needed a couple yrs to develop.into an NFL QB
    *Everyone said this would be the Jets year.
    I. Have come to the conclusion, everyone don’t know everything!


    For someone grumbling about generalizations, you seem to be generalizing.

    1. I never thought Cassell was awesome… think he is good, but not elite.
    2. I thought both Philly and Dallas were over-hyped and overrated.
    3. I was wrong about Cam Newton.
    4. I NEVER thought this would be the Jets year; I expected retrograde for them, and think they are not ready to challenge the Patriots.

    With all of that said,

    5. Tim Tebow will fail as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Bank it.

  47. My prayer as an AFC West fan:

    God, please make coach Fox start Timmy Tebow for the rest of the season. We all need the 2 extra wins, and it’s easier to just stack the box to win against a “QB” that can’t throw the football any better than my sister. We promise not to intentionally break him in half when he tries to run the ball on every broken play, as long as he tries to throw the ball occasionally (LOL).


  48. I have to disagree with you Josh. The Chargers have played a full 60 minutes; several times, in fact. They are an average team. The D is inconsistent, and the offense can’t put enough points on the board to put games away. Tolbert and Mathews (esp. Mathews!) have give the team a running game it hasn’t had since 2007, but Rivers has been off his game this year and it’s kept crappy teams close. Had Rivers not thrown a pick-six yesterday, the game would have been at least 23-3 when Tebow came in.

    However, SD’s schedule is only slightly more difficult that Oakland’s the rest of the way. If the defense improves and Rivers settles down (and esp. if Gates can come back) things may change. But as it is, SD and OAK are vying for which AFC West team will lose in the first round of the playoffs.

  49. Tebow will not fail. He is a winner. I say run that Gator style offense in the nfl. Tebow can sling that ball. Weve all seen it. winning is winning nfl style or not.

  50. Great idea, broncsfan72. All it takes for Tim Tebow to be successful in the NFL is to be 1) handed a job two different coaching staffs have decided he doesn’t deserve and 2) change the entire offensive system to make life easier for HIM. We should all start calling Timmy the SUN because it appears the world revolves around him!

  51. Well cuda if they don’t think he deserves it why did the first coaching staff draft him? Also why did the second coaching staff put him in and make him the official starter possibly tomorrow? As far as changing the offense it’s what they do. Every team does it. Hell if you was watching ESPN tonight Steve Young said the same thing. Look he’s a first year player on a bad team. He’ll get better. The more he improves the more dangerous he will be. If i’m wrong so what. I’m getting used to this losing b.s.

  52. Who REALLY cares? Everyday he’s on TV or in the newspaper. EVERYDAY. Please stop it. This guy has the very best press agent of all time…ever.

    He wasn’t even the best pro prospect QB in the SEC when he was at UF. Stafford is ten times the QB that Tebow is and will be. Would you rather have Tebow or Stafford? No more discussion. But the PRESS wants the discussion.

    Can you say Anna Kournikova? At least she doesn’t cry on camera.

  53. you must care jag because you read the article and commented on it. The answer to your question is Stafford. But we don’t have Stafford we have Tebow. Thanks for caring.

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