If this was any other season, Matt Prater would be a superstar and people would be talking about John Fox’s brilliant defensive mind. But all you keep hearing about is Tebow, Tebow, Tebow. Look, Tebow deserves none of the credit here. When you look at the first 5 games of the season the Broncos were 1-4, including 2 defeats by 3 points and a loss by 5 points. Since Tebow took over of the 7 wins 3 of them have been by FGs in OT. Another game won by a FG in regulation, and 2 games won by a touchdown. Include that the lone Orton win was by a FG, and Matt Prater has won the game for the Broncos 5 times now.
The win on the 11th against the Bears takes the cake. Matt Prater hit FGs from 59 and 51 yards to win the game. Morten Anderson appears to be the only kicker to ever have 3 or more FGs of over 50 yards in a single game back in 1995. Against the Vikings with the Broncos down by 3 he kicked a 46 and a 23 yarder. Against the Chargers he had the teams last 9 points, a 41, 24 and 37 yard field goals. Against the Dolphins in Tebow’s first game as starter he had a 52 yard FG.
Without Prater the Broncos more then likely lose half the wins that they have now. We’re not even talking about chip shot field goals either, especially when it’s at 40 yards or more. Prater has been an absolute beast this year. His 3 FGs made at 50+ yards for the year nearly matches the total amount of FGs he’s made at 20-29 yards (4). It’s also not unheard of for a kicker to get a lot of publicity for kicking a lot of game winning FGs in a row, but Prater is getting none.
The reality with Tebow is that the team is winning by the absolute thinnest of razor margins. It’s like playing Jenga, you know that the base can no longer support any additions up top. Yet your friend just keeps pulling blocks out without a care in the world and nothing is going wrong. Right now it seems luck and general insanity is all going the Bronco’s way. But at some point it’s not going to anymore. Much like these teams that have been flash in the pan lately (Chiefs, Rams, Dolphins) the Broncos are in for a rude awakening next season.
They are going to be facing a much tougher schedule next year (and the AFC West will probably be much improved too) because of the amount of wins they are going to have at the close of the season. Meanwhile they will probably be stuck with a middle of the first round at best draft pick, and if they make the playoffs the pick will be even worse. So a team that’s winning by luck is hardly going to be able to add any talent via the draft, and they have a QB who can’t hit the side of a barn.
I think for long time Giants fans, this rings a lot like the period that Danny Kannel was starter for the team.