Play of the Game – Lewis Forces Tebow Fumble

From Sports Authority Field, Denver

QUARTER – 2nd, 8 minutes, 47 seconds to play in the half.

SCORE – Chiefs held a 7-0 lead over the Broncos.

DOWN & DISTANCE – 3rd-and-4 from the Chiefs 15-yard line.

DEFENSIVE SET – base defense, 3-4-4.

OFFENSIVE SET – in the shotgun formation, there was one back, three wide receivers and a tight end. The formation was strong right.

When it came to handling the option running attack of the Broncos, the Chiefs entered Sunday’s game prepared far more than they were the first time they saw Tim Tebow and the option at Arrowhead Stadium back in mid-November.

The Broncos use of Tebow and the option is so unusual that it’s hard to find practice time away from Denver week to teach the fundamentals to defensive players who haven’t seen the option since their college days.

“It’s a simple formula,” Romeo Crennel said during the week. “If the players do what we have planned, then we’ll handle the option. If they don’t, then we will have problems with Tebow.”

Well, on this play in the second quarter, they had no problem handling the option. Taking the snap in the shot gun, Tebow ran parallel to the line of scrimmage to his right, with fullback Jeremiah Johnson trailing him as a potential runner to pitch the ball too.

But standing in Tebow’s way was DE Tyson Jackson, who fought off the block of RT Orlando Franklin and was waiting for the Denver quarterback. Rather than pitch the ball back, Tebow changed direction, racing to his left. OLB Tamba Hali was in position, but he was too shallow to Tebow’s path and before you could snap a finger, the quarterback was off past Hali and about to turn up field.

“When he ran so far away (to the right), I should have went to his level and made him cut back again,” said Hali. “But I didn’t, and then it was a foot race and he’s younger than me.

“I’m just glad Kendrick Lewis came up and made the play of the game.”

Lewis was in the secondary and as soon as he saw Tebow turn and head in the other direction he sprinted for that side of the field. You see, Lewis has seen this before, playing against Florida and Tebow a handful of times when he was at Mississippi.

“My mentality was to just get over there and make a play, try to get the ball and let our offense do something with it,” Lewis said. “I got over there and forced the fumble and that changed the game. From there we took it and ran with it.”

What Lewis did was he went high on Tebow grabbing him with his right arm around the shoulder pads and then swinging his left arm around and knocking the ball out of his hands. The ball was on the ground and OLB Justin Houston jumped on it, keeping himself in bounds as well.

“We had a nice drive going and I fumbled and that was very disappointing,” Tebow said. “I was trying to fight for extra yards.”

Those yards weren’t there, and did not show up the rest of the game. The Broncos never broke the Chiefs 20-yard line after the fumble.

“I think we were able to contain him a little bit and with Tim Tebow, if you don’t contain him he runs and he makes plays,” said Romeo Crennel. “We were able to contain him and he wasn’t able to make the plays that he made against us the last time and that’s what helped us today.”

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