For 55 minutes, the Miami Dolphins had Tim Tebow on lockdown. He wasn’t able to lead the Broncos to any points, and he looked like a frantic quarterback that couldn’t throw the ball into the ocean if he were standing right next to it.
What the Dolphins did was they played in a two-man coverage and then would rush three all while Jason Taylor was the “spy.” Taylor had Tebow zeroed in on most plays to contain his running ability.
Teams that play the Broncos in the future will likely take a page out of the Dolphins book. After all, it worked for three and three-fourths quarters.
After giving up just 2 sacks in the last three games, the Broncos gave up 7 sacks to the Dolphins. All of those sacks happened when the Broncos were in a 3-wide set. There’s a tendency to blame the offensive line for that one, but John Fox cautions against doing that.
“There’s a lot of moving parts in the passing game,” Fox said. “The quarterback, the center, the protection call, the formation, the snap count. It’s not just the O-line. There’s backs involved in the protection, there’s tight ends involved in protection, there’s the quarterback delivering the ball on time. That’s an area that we have to improve at.”
Tebow does dance around in the pocket more than Kyle Orton did, so plays are alive longer. That increases the risk to be taken down in the back field.
The concern is that before week 7, the Dolphins had just 8 sacks all season. Going against a better pass rushing team this week brings new challenges to Tebow.
With Ndamukong Suh, the Detroit Lions are ranked 11th in sacks and they are 9th in passing yards allowed. Suh has just 3 sacks on the year and he views this week as a prime opportunity to add to his season total.
The key for the Broncos this week will be to get their rushing game going. The Dolphins are 28th against the rush, giving up 129.4 yards per game. Willis McGahee is out so Knowshon Moreno and Lance Ball will have to relieve the pressure that’s put on Tebow. Once the Lions respect the Broncos’ run, the play action will be more effective and give Tebow more time in the pocket.
While much credit or blame is placed on Tebow’s ability to throw the ball, more attention should be paid to how the Broncos run the ball from here on out.
There are 10 more games that depend on it.