By the numbers: Why Tebow took over

If you crunch the numbers -– as Jason York of ESPN Stats & Information did –- there are some statistics that make it clear why the Denver Broncos made the switch from Kyle Orton to Tim Tebow.

Tebow will be Denver’s starting quarterback Sunday at Miami.

While he has played just three-and-a half games, Tebow has produced better numbers in key areas. Let’s take a look, courtesy of York:

Tebow’s Total Quarterback Rating in 17 action plays in Week 5 against San Diego was 72.8. In 143 action plays last season, Tebow’s Total QBR was 54.3. Since 2009, Orton has never had a QBR that high.

Most importantly, Tebow has been better than Orton when it counts. In his NFL career, Tebow’s QBR in the fourth quarter is 68.1. Orton’s QBR late in games, however, is not strong. His fourth quarter QBR since the start of the 2010 season is 37.7.

A key for Tebow’s future success will be his ability to succeed both under center and in the shotgun. He nearly lost three direct snaps from center against San Diego.

Tebow is clearly more comfortable out of the shotgun. He has thrown four touchdowns and just one interception out of the shotgun. He had thrown two touchdowns and has been intercepted twice in direct-snap plays. He has rushed for 236 yards and he has seven touchdowns out of the shotgun while he has rushed for 28 yards and no scores using the direct snap.

For this offense to be completely effective with Tebow at quarterback, Tebow will have to get better in direct snaps. But because he is so productive whole using the shotgun, that alignment has to remain a key part of Denver’s offense.