Tim Tebow's response to the worst game of his career was what you would expect coming from him. He thanked the man upstairs and talked about how excited he was to celebrate Christmas today. He smiled through the tough questions, never wavered and wished everyone a happy holiday.
No surprise there. Tebow is a class act and consummate role model who wouldn't lose his temper, use foul language or criticize anyone. He showed no anger after the Bills sent him back to Denver with a stocking full of coal, a 40-14 walloping in Ralph Wilson Stadium that interrupted the Broncos' march toward the playoffs.
Instead, he left in peace.
"First and foremost, I want to thank my lord and savior, Jesus Christ," Tebow said in his opening remarks. "Isn't it great that no matter what, win or lose, we have a chance to celebrate my lord and savior's birth tomorrow. That's pretty cool. It's something I'm very excited about, celebrating Christmas. It's going to be a lot of fun."
Tebow is a good man who is polished in every aspect of his life but one: His ability to play quarterback in the NFL. Heaven help his performance Saturday. The Bills exposed his flaws when it comes to making good decisions and accuracy. He had been hailed as a savior but looked lost in the Broncos' biggest game of the year.
Yes, I know, it's Christmas. I might be a tad critical at times, but I'm no Grinch, either. Breaking down Tebow's performance Saturday feels dirty, like ripping Santa Claus. It's just that one of them happens to be a myth when it comes to job performance, and it's not the potbellied man in the red suit. It's the sculpted quarterback wearing No. 15.
The best thing you could say about Tebow on Saturday was that he arrived in the holiday spirit while bearing many gifts. He threw four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns on back-to-back plays in the fourth quarter. He gift-wrapped the Bills' 26-point lead, and Buffalo's win, with less than eight minutes remaining in the game.
"You have to give them a lot of credit," Tebow said. "They played well, they executed and they came up with big plays. I just have to do a better job of not giving them opportunities. I was just trying to make something happen. I just forced it."
Tebow completed just 13 of 30 passes for 185 yards and had a 35.4 passer rating, which wasn't what the Broncos needed while fighting for a playoff spot. They'll be alive next week when they play Kansas City and Kyle Orton, the man Tebow replaced in Denver. The Broncos aren't going anywhere unless Tebow shows dramatic improvement.
Of course, it was easy to get caught up in the hype. Tebow had 11 touchdown passes and two interceptions entering the game. He had five fourth-quarter comebacks this season and six in his career, the most by any NFL quarterback through 12 starts, but he had a better chance of walking on water than producing the miracle required to overcome the fourth-quarter deficit Saturday.
The only reason he had for dropping to one knee Saturday was to beg for mercy from the Bills' defense, which had three sacks and kept him under siege all day.
"We get flustered and everything with one game," Tebow said. "Ultimately, it's just a game. I'm thankful that I can try and keep things in perspective of what really matters."
Questions remain about his ability to lead his team to the postseason promised land. He crumbled under the pressure Saturday. He threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter, when he usually does his best work. He thought he could bring his team back again but was greeted by a number of firsts.
Saturday marked the first time he threw three interceptions in one game on any level, and he ended up with four. He was picked off for touchdowns on consecutive plays, a first. He was intercepted on the road for the first time in his NFL career after 117 attempts. He lost back-to-back NFL starts for the first time.
"It's still frustrating," he said, "but it's something my mom taught me a long time ago: Give your praise to the lord and give your disappointments to the lord. It's the No. 1 way I can deal with it. [Today], I still get to celebrate my savior's birth. I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds my future. It's something that gives me a lot of peace and a lot of comfort when there might be a lot of turbulence around me."