The Steelers gave up only two plays over 40 yards all season. They gave up four to Tim Tebow and the high-flying Broncos passing attack on Sunday.
To hear the Steelers tell it, Tebow pulled off plays the Steelers simply didn’t think he could make.
“We felt we had a good grasp of what they would try to do to us,” linebacker James Farrior said via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “They made more plays than we thought they were capable of making.
“We really hadn’t seen that out of him on tape.”
That’s because it wasn’t there. Tebow had been unwilling to consistently throw into tight windows in the past, much less accurately. But he was lights out when he needed to be on Sunday.
Perhaps just as important, the Broncos continued to throw with the lead on a defense showing its age. They settled for field goals after their two touchdown barrage, but they managed to win without a great running performance.
“Stunned, yeah. Shocking!” Hines Ward said about Tebow’s game-winning touchdown pass.
The Steelers are getting criticized for not making adjustments, but they only gave up three points in the second half before the touchdown in overtime.
“We did better in the second half,” defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau told Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Give the kid credit.”
He’ll get plenty. Tebow beat the league’s best pass defense on a night they may have been a little too confident he couldn’t pull it off.