Broncos defense has made Tebow Time possible

This Tim Tebow miracle victory tour thing has been pretty special. Every week the Broncos find another way to win a game. But again, let's point out where the true credit belongs. The very reason the Broncos are able to continue to run the ball all game and go with the read-option at critical times is because of the work of the defense.

The Broncos have not trailed by more than two scores throughout their four-game winning streak. Don't lose sight of that. The defense knows it has to keep things close and provide some short fields, and it's doing just that, one year after being downright atrocious.

Let's take a closer look:

» Nov. 6 at Oakland: Trailed 17-7 late in first half and 24-14 midway through the third quarter, and scored the final 24 points. Tebow attempted five passes in the second half (four of them came on the opening drive of the second half).

» Nov. 13 at Kansas City: Never trailed. Held the Chiefs to 10 points. Nuff said.

» Nov. 17 vs. Jets: Biggest deficit was 10-3 early in third quarter. Tebow ran the ball six times on the final game-winning drive and threw it five times.

» Nov. 27 at San Diego:Biggest deficit 10-0 midway through first quarter. Defense allows three more points the rest of the day. Broncos attempt 51 rushes to 18 passes. Tebow attempted just 11 passes in all of the second half, plus a full overtime session.

Don't lose sight of what the defense is doing -- attacking opposing quarterbacks and not giving up points in the second half of games. And the offensive line is road grading people. Pretty impressive all around, which is allowing Tebow to be Tebow.

Odds and Ends

» Tarvaris Jackson has been about as gutsy as it gets, playing through what is a brutally painful pectoral injury. It's clearly limiting his play -- Seattle sticking with him over Charlie Whitehurst has to tell you Whitehurst won't be back -- and it's pretty amazing they've won some games despite his injury. But you have to wonder how much longer Jackson can continue to gut it out, because he's grimacing after every throw and not able to get the ball downfield normally.

» Antonio Cromartie's misadventures continue. He muffed a punt, giving the Bills great field position, then had a pass bounce off his hands for a long TD reception for Brad Smith. Jets were fortunate to survive that game Sunday. Mark Sanchez was able to overcome getting picked in the end zone and being utterly erratic for much of the game, by coming up with his four touchdown passes, some of them brilliant. But you can't help but wonder if he can keep that up. He seemed to be aiming the ball more than usual, and he didn't look too confident particularly in the first half of that game.

» Good to see Peyton Hillis back out there, and he was running hard. The numbers weren't sexy, but he was grinding out hard yards against a tough run defense and allowed the Browns to play a much-needed ball control game given the woes in their passing attack. (Colt McCoy, who had been so accurate the past 5-6 weeks, threw an inexplicable late interception that turned the game, otherwise the Browns may have pulled off the in-state upset and possibly derailed the Bengals season).

» A lot will be made of Matt Leinart's injury, but he was really limited in what he did during his brief debut with the Texans. It was all dink-and-dunk -- his first eight attempts didn't travel past 10 yards, and I'm not sure Houston would have squeezed much more out of him. He had a nice lob for a touchdown, but I'm not sure T.J. Yates can't give them what Leinart would have been able to provide.

» Marcedes Lewis is having a lost season, summed up by a dropped TD pass that ended up being a huge play in that game. If he makes the easy catch, Blaine Gabbert maybe has a little more confidence and doesn't end up getting benched. The Jags' defense did its job, again, but that offense -- aside from Maurice Jones-Drew -- is brutal to watch.

Follow Jason La Canfora on Twitter @JasonLaCanfora

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