Opponent Spotlight: Broncos QB Tim Tebow

We'll open this by saying football is not played in religious or political circles. I can't figure out what's a bigger waste of time, arguing about Broncos QB Tim Tebow's success as some kind of religion-based miracle, or generating venomous hate and groundless anger based on the same concepts.

Let's just keep this about football.

And on a football field, Tebow gives the Broncos elements typically linked with success. He also leaves a lot to be desired.

Why Tebow has had a modicum of success this season is simple, really. He's extremely difficult to tackle, despite being such a large target. The energy in which he plays is only outweighed by his size. When a 250 pound guy gets in the open field with a head of steam, he can do some damage to 190 pound cornerbacks in pursuit. The reason he gets in the open field is because linemen and linebackers aren't quick enough to stay with him when he's on the move.

The Jets learned that lesson the hard way. Late in the fourth quarter in their Week 11 game, the Jets brought a heavy blitz aimed at forcing Tebow to leave the pocket. It worked. He left the pocket. The problem was at that point no Jets defender in front of Tebow wanted any piece of him.

He scored from 20 yards out to give the Broncos their third win of what would eventually be a six-game winning streak. It also marked the real beginning of Tebowmania.

Some called it inspirational. It was more like shoddy tackling from a non-playoff team that did not want to play physical football.

In a lot of ways, Kansas City's game plan last week may very well put an end to Tebowmania. Not because he's a bad person or because he doesn't deserve the hype he gets. The Chiefs corralled Tebow simply by making him make the first move.

Much of the Chiefs defensive game plan was to squeeze Tebow out of the pocket while keeping their linebackers a few yards off the line of scrimmage, holding their ground. The Chiefs didn't blitz much up the middle, maintained discipline in their lanes and didn't overpursue him. By doing that, Tebow had to make the first move, and while he's an excellent athlete, he doesn't have great lateral speed. He's a really powerful runner, but that doesn't help you in the open field against a tackler who's in good position to make the stop.

Essentially, they were forcing him - daring him - to throw. The result was a poor passing game for the Broncos, and just three points on the scoreboard.

Expect Pittsburgh to mirror the same concept. Kansas City's defense is built very similarly to Pittsburgh's personnel-wise. It will be interesting to see whether the Steelers will play the secondary in man coverage as often as Kansas City did, but with the Steelers pass rush looking to finally return to full force (the return of LaMarr Woodley could be a huge part of this game), the Steelers can play on the edge, gambling Tebow cannot beat them with his arm.

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