Five months ago at the beginning of the NFL season, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas was known as the guy the Denver Broncos chose over star wide out Dez Bryant. In fact, former head coach Josh McDaniels was so high on Thomas’ talent that he selected the Georgia Tech receiver three picks before a quarterback from Florida named Tim Tebow in the 2010 NFL Draft.
After tearing his ACL during an offseason work out in February, many wondered if Thomas would play a single down this year. Today Thomas is Tim Tebow’s favorite receiver and the man who vaulted Denver into the next round with a game winning 80 yard TD reception in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Thomas’ 204 receiving yards were just 36 yards shy of the post season record for most receiving yards in a game held by Eric Moulds. The former Buffalo Bills WR grabbed nine balls in his record-setting game while Thomas had just four receptions against last night. 51 yards per reception, not too bad for the Georgia Tech product’s first career post season game.
Thomas certainly has first round talent, but credit for the receiver’s success has to be given to Tim Tebow. Think about this, during the 10 games that Thomas played in with Kyle Orton as the starter last year, he caught just two touchdowns. This year with Tebow at helm, the former first rounder has five touchdown catches including last night’s game winner.
In fact, in Tebow’s first game as a starter vs. Miami, DT as he is affectionately called by his quarterback, caught three passes and scored a touchdown. The significance here is that this was Thomas’ first game since tearing his ACL. It had been nine months since Demaryius suited up for an NFL game and yet playing with Tebow made it seem like he hadn’t missed a beat.
But it wasn’t until Minnesota in early December that Thomas had his coming out party. After failing to get over 100 yards during his rookie season, DT eclipsed the century mark for the first time in his career against the Vikings. The man who was thought to be a bust had 144 yards receiving and two TD’s in that ball game. Denver’s 35-32 victory in the Metrodome Week 12 proved that Thomas was a legitimate receiver and that Tim Tebow truly had the ability to throw the football effectively.
For those who weren’t convinced about Thomas after his breakout performance, the Georgia native showed off his clutch gene in a wild matchup the following week against the Chicago Bears. Thomas’ fourth quarter TD reception with just over a minute to go, helped the Broncos force overtime. In that extra session, DT made several key receptions that set up a Matt (aka Darth Vader) Prater game winning field goal.
Thomas’ strong play made the city of Denver and Tim Tebow completely forget about Eric Decker. Decker has scored just one touchdown since his game winning catch against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9 and is likely out for Saturday’s matchup against the Patriots after injuring his knee last night. That means more passes for Thomas.
Demaryius Thomas is just one of the many reasons why time and time again many like ESPN’s Skip Bayless have criticized the play of Eric Decker. Is it a coincidence that the very next play after Decker’s injury Tebow hooked up with Thomas for a 51 yard pass? Call it whatever you want, but the fact of the matter is that Tebow and Thomas have a much better rapport than Tebow and Decker ever did.
While Decker will certainly be missed for his ability to block down the field, Thomas provides everything and more that Decker did on the outside.It is true that Decker has twice as many touchdowns as Thomas this year, but with Tebow as quarterback Thomas has five TD receptions while Decker has just four.
It only makes sense that Thomas, who was born on Christmas morning, has had his NFL career christened by the Messiah of the Mile High Tim Tebow.