Smarts and efficiency set Tebow apart


Smarts and efficiency set Tebow apart

DENVER - The go-to number when discussing Tim Tebow's quarterbacking (aside from the wins) is his completion percentage.How can a guy win six straight games in the NFL of 2011 when he's completing only 48 percent of his passes? It's the worst in the league. But the stat that helps explain why he is successful - and it's a stat that goes back to Florida and likely before - is giveaways. Tim Tebow doesn't turn the ball over. In his eight starts, he's been intercepted twice and thrown 11 touchdowns. He's fumbled three times. His interception percentage is one percent. Best in the NFL. Josh Freeman's thrown 18 picks. Cam Newton's thrown 16. We could go on. But being at the bottom of the league in completion percentage is a lot worse if some of those incompletions are caught by the other team. Tebow's are not. Hence, his very capable defense is not put in bad situations one or more times per game as the rest of the league's defenses are. And how often are we told that turnovers and red zone play are the key indicators for wins and losses? (Lots). Another stat? Not only is Tebow 32nd in completion percentage, he's also 32nd in rushing. Among all rushers. He's got the second-most yards among quarterbacks behind Newton's 554. Tebow's got 517. Look at it this way, on those 91 runs, he's averaging 5.5 per carry. Add the 517 yards rushing to the 1,290 passing and you have a player who's got 1,807 positive yards from scrimmage and five turnovers (he's lost three fumbles). And he's done that in eight starts. This is how Tebow has operated though. In college, he threw 88 touchdown passes and 16 picks. There were 40 games in which he was the Gators' true starter in the SEC where he played under scrutiny, pressure and against the best competition and athletes in college football. That helps explain why he's so good in end-game situations as well. By way of comparison, Mark Sanchez had 15 starts at USC. And he threw 14 picks in those games. Tebow is a more experienced, tested, smarter and productive quarterback than he's been given credit for. And even though his completion percentage is down, he's a pretty complete player.

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable


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:


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)


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

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)