Tim Tebow throws a pass Thursday night. Where it ends up is anyone's guess.
If Tim Tebow's NFL career is over, at least he can tell his grand children he went out on a heavenly note during his final play.
But before that, Tebow had something for everyone Thursday night.
He was booed.
He was cheered.
He was sacked.
And sacked again.
He ran for a first down.
He threw for a first down.
He threw a 52-yard TD pass to Quentin Sims. [His pass covered about 14 yards, with Sims scampering for the remaining 38.]
He threw a punt-like interception on his next possession.
He threw another 9-yard-TD pass to Sims with four seconds left on the clock after the Patriots had the game won.
And he did something in August that Tom Brady never could do during the month of February - he beat the Giants.
That was a sweet ball in the corner of the end zone from Tebow, especially if it turns out to the be final pass of his Patriots/NFL career.
Speaking of "The Things You'd Thought You'd Never See" department, Tebow found himself being accidentally referred to as "Peyton Manning" during the NFL Network telecast by analyst Mike Mayock. The slip-up came while Mayock was dissecting Tebow's post-TD interception and on the heels of a sideline interview with Eli.
If you want to get foolishly technical about it, the final TD was not smart football wise because the Patriots could have run out the clock had they just held the ball. The TD gave the Giants one last desperate shot at tying the game on the ensuing squib kick.
But we digress.
The good, the bad, and the [very handsome] ugly.
This was the fourth game of the preseason. Usually no one cares about these games unless you happen to be one of those players struggling to make the team or awaiting their latest child support payment.
But after Ryan Mallett eased some fears in with a strong first-half performance, the second-half was billed as Tebow's last-ditch effort to save his NFL career. Tebow's numbers: 6-11, 91 yards, two TDs, an interception and 30 yards rushing.
Another typical atypical Tebow performance. With Tebow, the perception of the man overwhelms the percentage of his passes. Any no-name third-stringer with those numbers would likely be seen from behind walking out the door at the end of "Hardknocks."
Not Tebow. Good or bad - you decide. When it was over, the results were too close to call. You can dwell on the lumbering stiff who refused to check off receivers and held the ball longer than Josh Beckett between pitches. Or you can focus on the scrappy hustler who ran hard, led a pair of scoring drives and got this reaction from Tom Brady:
Knowing the diabolical nature of Bill Belichick, after all he drove the getaway car after Odin Lloyd was killed from what I read on Rolling Stone's website this week, Thursday night's performance had little effect on Tebow's future with the Patriots one way or another.
His fate was sealed. What that fate is is anyone's guess. This is one thing we love about the Patriots, they add drama and intrigue to the NFL's most mundane routines, including roster cuts, signings and the ever-fictional injury report.
Tebow is not going to be a tight end or anything else in the NFL.
He's either going to be a quarterback or be an unemployed quarterback. Salvation, or that other thing, will arrive for Tebow at 6 p.m. Saturday, when every team has to reduce its roster to 53 players.
Even the truest of True Tebelievers saw just how badly he can be during the second half of Thursday's 28-20 victory over the Giants. Over one particularly brutal stretch, Tebow absorbed four sacks in a nine-play run. His offensive line at times looked disinterested. But who could blame them since they had to block for 45 seconds on each passing play.
Tebow kept things interesting and those who turned away at the last minute missed out on both his last ditch touchdown to Sims and his teammates' reaction to it.
Brady in particular appeared to have no idea what to make of Tebow, much like the rest of us. Following Tebow's first TD to Sims, he was caught by the NFL Network cameras yelling what amateur lip-readers could have interpreted as "What the f--k!" The real Patriots QB, who had the night off, seemed to be enjoying himself all night.
Tebow has been generating a similar reaction since his days throwing those awkward passes to Aaron Hernandez during their days with the Florida Gators.
And for most of the second half Thursday night, it looked like Tebow might need a few blunts himself after it was over.
Speaking of Brady and Tebow, how did we miss this:
But Tebow left the field with his trademark, saintly smile in tact and stetched across his face after the final TD to Sims gave New England its eight-point margin.
High fives were flying all the way around and those four sacks were forgotten for the moment.
It was as if Tebow was heading directly from Foxborough straight to home to Florida.
"I'm going to Disney World, but only if they make Hannah Montana put her clothes back on."
That's as it should be. Tebow in his NFL Fantasyland. His own shiny magic kingdom in the dark sinister world of New England's hooded "grand wizard."
Who really wants to be the guy who has to cut him? Imagine telling Tim Tebow that his days with the Patriots, and likely the NFL, as a QB are over? That's the football equivalent of having to put the cat down. Some cuts are unkinder than others.
All of the buzz seems to be indicate Tebow is going to make the Patriots' final 53 man roster. That's the ultimate 6-5 against proposition. It can go either way and the house has to get its cut.
While the murder charges against Hernandez threatened to derail the Patriots' preseason, it was the presence of Tebow that kept things interesting and sparked a continual debate. And on a day when Jonathan Kraft, and fans of good journalism everywhere, debunked and disassembled the latest attempt by Rolling Stone to exonerate the most notorious Mass. murderers of 2013, it was Tebow's fate and his bipolar performance that swiped the spotlight.
After the game, Tebow said he was secure knowing his future securely rested in the hands of The Man Upstairs and the guy in the Hoodie.
"[I'll] ... wake up, come work out, watch the film. See what I did good, see what I did bad, try to learn from it and get better," he said. "I'm blessed, because of my faith, that I don't have to worry about the future because I know who holds my future," he added. "It's something I try to live by. It really gives you a lot of peace in whatever circumstance I'm in."
But it would be a lot more fun if that was with the Patriots.
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