Tim Tebow's first career NFL start had its ups (touchdowns) and its downs (a loss), but it was a strong building block for the rookie quarterback. Tebow rushed for a 40-yard touchdown on a QB draw and threw a 33-yard strike to Brandon Lloyd in the end zone, all in the first quarter. And that's when it all went wrong again for the Broncos.
Tied at 14 after the first quarter, the Oakland Raiders outscored the Broncos, 25-9, over the last three quarters of the game. There was an astonishing lack of play on the field and of coaching on the sidelines by the players and the coaches. In the fourth quarter, everything came together on a Raiders safety. On 2nd-and-14, the Broncos were on their own two-yard line. Tebow handed off to Lance Ball, who was tackled in the end zone for two points. It was poor play-calling by offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.
The Broncos defense disappeared once again. The Raiders had two scoring drives that each ended after only one play. On their first drive, Jacoby Ford rushed for a 71-yard touchdown and in the fourth quarter Jason Campbell connected with Marcel Reece for a 73-yard touchdown pass.
The Raiders had 264 rushing yards and averaged 6.4 yards per carry. The Broncos, meanwhile, had 106 yards for 3.2 yards per carry. Tebow had 78 of those yards, second most by a Denver Broncos quarterback. Lance Ball took the majority of rushes for the Broncos after Knowshon Moreno left the game with a rib injury. His status going forward is unknown right now.
Overall, Tim Tebow performed well enough given the conditions he played with leading up to and during the game. He was 8-of-16 passing (138 yards) with a touchdown and a 100.5 QB rating. He was sacked only twice. Receiver Brandon Lloyd benefited the most from Tebow, making four receptions for 79 yards.
After this loss, the Broncos have allowed 98 points to the Raiders this season (they previously allowed 59 points in a home loss) and are 1-4 in the division, 3-11 overall. The Raiders, though, improved to 5-0 in the AFC West, 7-7 overall.
The Broncos host the Houston Texans (5-9) on Sunday, Dec. 26 and Tim Tebow certainly did enough today to earn the start next week.