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Tebow shows how far he has to go

Divisional Playoffs - Denver Broncos v New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos looks on against the New England Patriots during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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The NFL is a passing league, as we’ve seen over and over again this NFL season, and if you don’t have a quarterback who can make plays consistently, you’re probably not going to win many games.

And the Denver Broncos don’t have a quarterback who can make plays consistently.

The Broncos’ season came to an end on Saturday night with a humiliating 45-10 loss, and Tim Tebow’s numbers were so far short of what NFL teams need from their quarterbacks that any Broncos fan who looks at things objectively would have to wonder if Tebow is really the best man to lead this team on the field.

Tebow finished the game 9-for-26 for 136 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He ran for just 13 yards on five carries, and he also lost a fumble.

Those simply aren’t the numbers of a competent NFL quarterback in 2012. Tebow’s accuracy and understanding of the offense remain huge problems. Tebow has now been the Broncos’ No. 1 quarterback for 14 games, starting at halftime of the Week 5 loss to the Chargers. In those 14 games, Tebow has completed more than half his passes exactly twice. That’s a huge problem for the Broncos, no matter how many passionate defenders Tebow has.

For his part, Tebow was his usual optimistic self after the game.

“The run was a lot of fun,” Tebow said of the 2011 season. “A lot of ups and downs but we really try to block everything on the outside off and just enjoy the relationships with teammates and coaches, and work and try to get better. And I feel like we did that all year. We just didn’t put together a good enough performance tonight.”

Obviously, Tebow is capable of putting together good performances. He did it just last week against the Steelers. But is he capable of doing it consistently, week after week, frequently enough that the Broncos will be able to make the playoffs in years when a .500 record isn’t good enough to win the AFC West?

Maybe he will be good enough in the future, with good coaching and hard work. But he’s a long way from good enough right now. Tebow’s 9-of-26 effort in a 45-10 loss showed just how far he has to go.