Fourth-quarter heroics part of Tebow's improvement

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Fourth-quarter heroics part of Tebow's improvement

FOXBORO -- When Bill Belichick went to Gainesville to work out Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Spikes before the 2010 NFL Draft, he also met with Tim Tebow, and worked him out as well.

While Belichick and Tebow learned different things about each other at that time, it's highly unlikely that Belichick could have ever predicted what Tebow's done for the Denver Broncos in the last couple of weeks. The magic that Tebow has possessed in the fourth quarter this season would be impossible to capture in a pre-draft workout.

"I've been in the league for 20-plus years, so you never want to say you've seen it all, but, you get to experience a lot, and he's a fine young man that's a young quarterback that keeps getting better every week," said Broncos coach John Fox on Wednesday.

"When you win in the National Football League, it becomes a pretty big deal on the outside."

Tebow is now 7-1 as a starter in the last eight weeks. And it's fair to say that he has become a pretty big deal.

He's winning because of his constant fourth-quarter heroics, which has been a stretch of dramatic and unprecedented finishes to games that previously saw three quarters of lackluster production.

So what makes him so much better in the fourth?

"I just think that I'm blessed to have great teammates and great coaches in those fourth quarters," said Tebow on Wednesday. "They make me look a lot better than I am, and I just thank the Lord that we've had the opportunity to pull a few of these ones out."

As Fox said on Wednesday, "The guy just wins."

"Knowing the young man, even before coming here to coach him, just in the draft process, he's got outstanding intangibles, and he performed at a very high level in college at the University of Florida," said Fox. "I think everybody can see that. And I think all young players in the National Football League have got a lot to learn. And quarterback is that much more difficult. I know it's the toughest job in our league. It might be one of the toughest jobs in sports.

"He's improving. It's not just the fourth quarter. He's improving as an NFL quarterback."

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will head into Sunday's AFC title game with seven players listed as questionable, including three receivers. 

Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all been limited in practices this week due to their injuries. Amendola has been dealing with an ankle issue since a Week 13 win over the Rams, while Mitchell has not played since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Jets. Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans and left the game in the third quarter.

Both Hogan and Mitchell indicated this week that they were moving in the right direction in terms of their recoveries. One would think that the Patriots would need at least one, if not both, to help stress the back end of the Steelers secondary this weekend.

Hogan has been the team's most consistent down-the-field threat this season, averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch during the regular season. Against the Texans, before his injury, he reeled in four passes for 95 yards. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, had a very productive second half of his rookie season before he was hurt. He compiled 25 catches for 306 yards between Weeks 11 and 16, establishing himself as one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. 

The overall health of the Patriots receiving corps -- which will also include Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd -- will bear watching when the Patriots and Steelers kick off in two days.

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)