Tim Tebow, perhaps the most polarizing player in the NFL, came into this week’s game with more questions than an SAT prep course, and he provided enough answers to calm the controversy about him starting. Well, it calmed the controversy for at least one more week.
Tebow relied on both his arm and his legs to lead the Broncos to their second win in his three starts, 38-24 over the division rival Oakland Raiders. The Raiders drop to 4-4, losing two straight games since Jason Campbell was lost for the season.
The Broncos improved their record to 3-5, with Tebow going 2-1 with the same team that Kyle Orton went 1-4 with. And with the win, the Broncos are now only one game out of first place in the muddled AFC West with three teams tied at 4-4.
If the win-loss record isn’t reason enough, Tebow did turn in an improved performance on the field, albeit with a lot more help from his teammates this week. Tebow passed for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns, going 10 of 21 through the air, but he also ran the ball for 117 yards on 12 carries, for almost 10 yards per carry.
The Broncos totaled 298 yards rushing, with Willis McGahee adding 163 yards and 2 touchdowns to the mix. Eddie Royal also scored 2 touchdowns in the second half, one on a reception and one on a punt return, to ice the win.
The Broncos were down by 10 points at halftime, and came charging back in the second half. Tebow threw a 26 yard touchdown pass to Eddie Royal in the third quarter, but Carson Palmer answered back with an 18 yard TD to Jacoby Ford. Following a 43-yard field goal, McGahee tied the game with a 60-yard touchdown run.
In the fourth, Eddie Royal put the Broncos ahead for good with an 85-yard punt return for a TD, and McGahee added the icing with a 24-yard TD run to close out the scoring.
Carson Palmer played better than his first start, but was still plagued with turnovers. Palmer went 19 of 35 for 332 yards with 3 TDs, but he also threw for 3 INTs. The Raiders were also below their season average, managing 100 yards rushing with 96 coming from Michael Bush, who was filling in for an injured Darren McFadden.
The Broncos face the floundering Kansas City Chiefs next weekend, who ended their four-game winning streak by providing the Miami Dolphins their first win of the year in a 31-3 loss, to drop the Chiefs to 4-4. The Raiders face the 4-4 San Diego Chargers in a Thursday night game this week.
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