Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Joe Mahoney/AP/Press Association Images Chicago Bears running back Marion Barber (24) is hit by Denver Broncos defensive tackle Marcus Thomas, rear, and defensive end Elvis Dumervil (92).
# Gridiron
The Redzone: What made Marion crumble?
Once more, a weekend of incredible gridiron action is overshadowed by Timmy Terrific. Steven O’Rourke turns to science for some answers.

Chicago Bears 10 @ Tim Tebow (seemingly) 13

APART FROM THAT time when Space Cowboy seemed a realistic career prospect, I always wanted to be a physicist when I grew up.

However, while I was good with words and stuff, I didn’t have the numeracy skills required to make it in the world on quarks, neutrinos, matter and anti-matter.

Lately, physics has been big news with seemingly faster than light neutrinos and, perhaps, later today the announcement from CERN that we are getting ever closer to the elusive Higgs boson.

About now, you’re probably wondering if you’re reading the Twilight Zone rather than The Redzone but there’s method to this madness.

You see, more and more, physicists appear to be coming to the conclusion that, despite its vastness, our universe is just one of an infinite number of universes.

Infinity is a pretty big number but it does mean that, in one of those universes, Marion Barber did not run out of bounds with two minutes to go, saving the timeout-less Broncos 35 seconds.

There is also a universe where Barber doesn’t lose a fumble on the Bronco’s 33 yard line when the Bears are well within field goal distance.

Unfortunately, there is also this universe where Barber committed both mistakes and it is in this universe where I have to listen to NFL fans and pundits, some of whom really should know better, give all the credit to Timothy Richard Tebow.

It’s hard to dislike Tebow. The guy has an astonishing will to win (five of the seven victories have come after trailing in the fourth quarter) and there aren’t many quarterbacks with a 7-1 record as a starter in the NFL.

However, his seven wins have come against teams with a combined record of 47-57 and, for the most part, the only reason the games have been close is because Tebow has been so awful in the first three quarters he hasn’t been able to capitalise on the great play of his defence and special teams.

During the first 12 drives of Sunday’s game against the Bears, Tebow completed eight of 23 pass attempts for 106 yards with a total quarterback rating of just 20.4.

During the last three drives, on which the Broncos scored all their points, Tebow was 13 of 17 for 130 yards and a QBR of 60.5.

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There’s no denying he is a clutch player but the Broncos still had to rely on two Marion Barber mistakes and two booming kicks from Matt Prater of 59 and 51 yards.

Now, given that there may be an infinite number of universes, in one of them Tebow probably did push Barber out of bounds and force him to fumble before kicking two 50+ yard field goals.  In ours though, he didn’t, so give credit where it’s due.

It’s not Tebow time. As the man himself says, it’s Broncos time.

Watch the highlights here.

Performance of the week

Andrew Lloyd Webber once wrote that ‘love changes everything’. He was wrong. A coaching change seemingly does the business just as well.

Following the sacking of his long-term coach Jack Del Rio, the Jaguars’ Maurice Jones-Drew put in his best performance in two seasons by scoring four touchdowns, rushing for 85 yards and catching six passes for another 51 yards in a 41-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Watch his highlights here.

Play of the week

As this is an NFL column, I really shouldn’t be pointing you in the direction of college football. However, the best play of the season, never mind week, was made by Elvis Akpla of Montana State in the FCS playoffs this weekend.

YouTube Credit: natephishy

In the NFL however, New England TE Rob ‘The Gronk’ Gronkowski entered beast mode against the Redskins to pick up this week’s Play of the Week.

See it here.

All fixtures and predictions

  • Cleveland Browns 3 @ Pittsburgh Steelers 14
  • Indianapolis Colts 10 @ Baltimore Ravens 24
  • Atlanta Falcons 31 @ Carolina Panthers 23
  • Houston Texans 20 @ Cincinnati Bengals 19
  • Minnesota Vikings 28 @ Detroit Lions 34
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 41
  • Philadelphia Eagles 26 @ Miami Dolphins 10
  • Kansas City Chiefs 10 @ New York Jets 37
  • New Orleans Saints 22 @ Tennessee Titans 17
  • New England Patriots 34 @ Washington Redskins 27
  • San Francisco 49ers 19 @ Arizona Cardinals 21
  • Chicago Bears 10 @ Denver Broncos 13
  • Oakland Raiders 16 @ Green Bay Packers 46
  • Buffalo Bills 10 @ San Diego Chargers 37
  • New York Giants 37 @ Dallas Cowboys 34
  • St. Louis Rams 13 @ Seattle Seahawks 30
Steven O’Rourke is the Offensive Co-ordinator of Tullamore Phoenix American Football Club, winners of the IAFL DV8s national title in 2010 and 2011. Tullamore are always recruiting new players so, if you’d like to play football and not just read about it, Steven would love to hear from you.

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