FOXBOROUGH — This preseason has been an up and down ride for third-string quarterback Tim Tebow.
He started with an iffy opening against the Eagles, finishing 4 of 12 passing for 55 yards and three sacks. He followed it up with an outing to forget against the Buccaneers (1 for 7, minus-1 yard, interception). And then he was forced to watch from the sideline as his team went through what was widely considered a dress rehearsal for the regular season against the Lions.
On Thursday, he provided a bit more of a mixed performance against the Giants. While the starters sat, Tebow watched as Ryan Mallett directed the second-team offense in the first half before getting his opportunity in the second half.
Right away fans got to see a bit of the good Tebow that won games for the Broncos in 2011, completing short, quick passes and burying his head behind blockers with runs up the middle.
There was also the bad. He took four sacks, some of which were because of poor blocking. And he had trouble connecting with his receivers, under throwing a pass to Aaron Dobson that was picked off.
But when people look back at this game, they’ll see he came back and made some tremendous passes, including a 52-yard touchdown strike to Quentin Sims in the fourth quarter, that led the Patriots to a 28-20 win.
“I felt pretty good,” Tebow said. “I’ll have to look at the film. [There’s] one or two passes I’d like back: the interception, just a little bit of miscommunication, my fault, led him too far inside, so you definitely want that back. You don’t want to have a turnover in that point of the game.
“But I felt like I was on a pretty good rhythm and pace with the receivers and I feel like we’ve been getting better every week.”
Tebow had particular rhythm with Quentin Sims, who caught three of his passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns, the other of which was a 9-yard fade in the back of the end zone before time expired.
“Yeah, all training camp me and Tim have connected on that,” Sims said. “Coach put a big emphasis on wanting to be able to do that. So it was good thing that we connected on the [opportunity] we had.”
Tebow finished the game 6 of 11 passing for 91 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and four sacks. He had an 83.7 quarterback rating, higher than Ryan Mallett (79.4). He also had 30 rushing yards on six carries.
By 6 p.m. Saturday, the Patriots will have determined if the Tebow is here to stay. It’s not something that he’s going to worry about.
“Nope,” 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. I don’t want to use that as a cliche, but it’s something that I try to live by. And it really gives you a lot of peace in whatever circumstances that you’re in.”