Tebow Works in Mysterious Ways

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I have accepted Tim Tebow as my personal quarterback and savior.

If faith is belief in things unseen, with or without evidence, then I have faith in Tim Tebow's ability as a passer, a leader and a winner.

I have faith that he can, as Jimmy Johnson said on the Fox postgame show, "raise his teammates better than anyone I have ever seen."

With their 13-10 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday, the Broncos are 7-1 since Tebow became their starting quarterback. I know of no explanation for this that excludes the supernatural.

He apparently has the power to cloud men's minds.

How else can you explain Lovie Smith's fourth-quarter play-calling? For three quarters, the Bears ran the ball 25 times and threw 18 (including sacks). In the fourth, Smith let Caleb Hanie drop back once in 12 offensive plays, content to rack up the three-and-outs while sitting on a 10-0 lead. His refusal to mix it up even after recovering a Tebow fumble proved costly.

Not as costly, perhaps, as the defensive calls. On Denver's only touchdown drive, beginning with 4:34 to play, the Bears gave the Broncos' receivers a cushion the size of a pole-vault pit. Standard defense had held Tebow to 3-of-16 passing for three quarters (admittedly, his receivers dropped several catchable balls). Now, in the fourth, Chicago's full-out retreat let him complete seven straight to march 63 yards for the score that made it 10-7.

Still, things looked good for the Bears. The Broncos had used all their timeouts and were forced into an onside kick. The ball bounced high, and a Denver player got his hand on it, but it was recovered by Nick Roach for Chicago with 2:05 to play.

After the 2-minute warning, Tebow performed his second miracle: befuddling ball-carrier Marion Barber into going out of bounds on second down, stopping the clock after 5 seconds rather than running off 40.

Instead of there being less than 20 seconds to play when Denver got the ball, the Broncos had nearly a minute to work with when they took over on their own 20 after a Chicago punt. Two quick completions brought the Broncos to their 40. On a pass to Matt Willis, the receiver slipped a tackle and turned a short gain into 19 yards while getting out of bounds at the Chicago 41.

Three plays brought the Broncos no closer, but here Tebow performed his third miracle, thinning the Denver air to the point that a 59-yard field goal was a reasonable option. Matt Prater, with a previous home 59-yarder to his credit, nailed it with plenty to spare, sending the game into overtime.

Chicago won the coin toss. Hanie moved the Bears smartly into Denver territory. On third-and-7 at the 38, Smith's clouded mind eschewed the traditional keep-a-down-in-reserve field goal attempt from 55 - Robbie Gould had already hit from 57 in the game - to give Barber another chance at screwing up the game.

Barber seized his opportunity, gaining 5 yards but fumbling into the hands of Elvis Dumervil, who gratefully fell on the ball for Miracle No. 4.

As if preordained, Tebow completed two passes, was sacked, and then on second-and-12 targeted Demaryius Thomas on the right side. Miracle No. 5: Cornerback Zack Bowman slipped on the play in coverage, and Thomas ran free to the Chicago 40. From there, Prater's game-winning field goal was inevitable.

Zero points on his team's first 11 possessions - and then three scores on their last three, aided by a coach's weird strategy, thin air, a fumble and a total brain cramp by a veteran running back. Truly, Tim Tebow works in mysterious ways.

Jeff Neuman's columns for RealClearSports appear on Monday and Thursday. Follow him on Twitter @NeumanJeff. His collected golf writing and blogging can be found at www.neumanprose.com.
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