It was the worst of quarterbacks, it was the best of quarterbacks.
It was the Tim Tebow Experience.
On Sunday, Tebow led the Denver Broncos to a 38-24 win against the Oakland Raiders. The way he did it defies logic or easy explanation.
In the second quarter, as the Broncos went from a four-point lead to a 10-point deficit, Tebow was 3-for-13 passing, for 9 yards. He seemed to be playing keep-away from his receivers. He was locating his pitches with the precision of Nuke LaLoosh.
Tebow looked like the fellow that many experts, and past opponents, were laughing at all week.
But check the final stats: Tebow outpassed Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer and outran (12 carries for 117 yards) every Oakland running back.
Tebow is 2-1 as the Broncos' starter this season and is the wild card in the AFC West race. Nobody knows what to make of him, including teammates.
Tebow's most effective play Sunday was a quarterback option, on which he either hands the ball to his running back going right, or keeps it and runs left, with zero blocking. On purpose. It's a play you might see in Pop Warner ball, but nobody else in the NFL runs that. The Raiders worked all week on defending it.
"I mean, they have been running the same thing since they put (Tebow) in there," Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said. In the next part of the quote, "stuff" is a substitute word. "They running that college (stuff), that zone (stuff) ... quarterback's gonna hold it. (Sigh.) Man, we practiced that (stuff) all week. Not like they came out there with some new package or scheme."
The Raiders were fooled by college dipsy-doodle executed by a quarterback who missed approximately 10 wide-open receivers. They not only endured great embarrassment, they blew a chance to drive a stake through the heart of Tebowmania.
Denver coach John Fox seems committed to giving Tebow an extended trial, but had the second half gone the same as the second quarter for his offense, Fox would have had to start thinking about pulling the plug on the Tim Tebow Experience. If that happened, what team would give Tebow another shot?
Instead, Tebow is 2-1, both wins semi-miraculous, and he has bought himself more time.
You might think that the Broncos would be caught up in Tebowmania, but they are not. One person close to the Broncos said the other players really like Tebow and appreciate his hard work and positive attitude, but they're holding back emotionally, for two reasons:
-- One, the Broncos might be weary of talking Tebow-Tebow-Tebow. It's like being another PGA Tour player when Tiger Woods was riding high.
-- Two, the Broncos are as mystified by Tebow as is the rest of the football world. They don't know if he is a fleeting fad or the real deal.
Denver guard Chris Kuper, asked how Tebow was in the huddle when the team fell behind, said, "No one panicked in the huddle, and he wasn't any different from anybody else."
Kuper was asked if anyone else in the NFL runs a quarterback option on a regular basis (the correct answer: "Are you kidding?"). He said, "I'm not sure. We ran it a lot today. I don't know if that's what we'll do in the future, but it was successful today, so we just kept running it."
Here's the way it typically works in the NFL: When a team makes a dramatic quarterback change and the team responds by winning two of three games in comeback fashion, the quarterback's teammates get enthusiastic. They act excited to have the opportunity to climb out of quicksand.
Now here's Broncos running back Willis McGahee, on Tebow:
"He struggled in the beginning, but he kept his poise, that was the main thing, can't really give up."
McGahee was asked if the Broncos were still in the process of adjusting to a quarterback with an unorthodox style.
"You gotta be a professional and get used to it, regardless of who it is: Kyle (Orton), Tebow, Brady (Quinn)," McGahee said. "Everybody's different."
Kuper, asked about the Tebow option play, said, "If it gets us points and we win games, I don't care how we do it. I'm sure everybody in the locker room will say the same thing."
Danger of the Broncos being infected by Tebowmania? Not a problem.
Fox was asked if he can say Tebow will be his quarterback.
"Uh, yes, I can," Fox said.