Commentary

How to beat the Broncos

Opponents need to shut down the option game and limit Denver's defensive pressure

Originally Published: December 3, 2011
By Dean Oliver and Hank Gargiulo | ESPN Insider
Tim TebowRon Chenoy/US PresswireTim Tebow's Total QBR ranks 31st in the league.

Given how Tim Tebow has looked throwing the ball, it's hard to believe that we're writing a column heading into Week 13 on how to stop Tebow and the Denver Broncos' offense. But here we are, watching Tebow Magic. It's magic because, well, it's hard to say exactly how he is getting it done.

Consider this: The Broncos have won five of six while getting outscored over the course of those six games (that's what a 45-10 blowout loss, like the one Denver had against Detroit, will do to you). This trick has been accomplished 15 times before, with 12 of those teams making the playoffs.

The Broncos are also winning with Tebow posting a Total QBR of 34.6 (31st in the league). However, it's fair to note that while QBR does account for a quarterback's running ability, it doesn't account for the return of the option quarterback. The option hadn't been seen in the NFL for decades and is even being phased out in college football. But the Broncos are running it and Tebow is making it work.

According to our video analysis team, up to this point, the Broncos' option is working at a rate of about 55 percent, a rate far exceeding that of normal rushing plays around the league (about 44 percent), and an enormous jump on the Broncos' running success rate when not using the option (about 36 percent). Given that Tebow has to make the quick decisions on what to do with the ball, he deserves some credit for this that QBR is currently not giving him.

Will the Vikings be able to put a stop to the magic this week? Let's take a look at how they could get it done.


To see the full game plan of how to beat the Denver Broncos, and for access to all other Insider NFL coverage, you must be an ESPN Insider.