Tim Tebow shows he can bounce back

The key to being a successful quarterback in the NFL is bouncing back.

That’s a lesson all rookies learn. Tim Tebow learned it quickly Sunday night as he bounced back glowingly.

Early in the fourth quarter of Denver’s 34-17 victory over visiting Pittsburgh, Tebow made a classic rookie mistake. He misjudged the speed of an NFL defensive backs and looked silly on an interception that set up a Pittsburgh touchdown.

However, the former Heisman Trophy winner didn’t go in the tank in his debut in Denver. On the next drive he threw bullets, including a short touchdown pass to fellow rookie Eric Decker.

Once again, Tebow, who completed 5 of 10 passes for 72 yards, showed he’s resilient and he’s a confident passer. He didn’t let the interceptions ruin his night or take him out of his game.

It’s another important step for Tebow as he learns the NFL game. Tebow, who sat out last week’s game against Detroit with sore ribs, was mostly good Sunday.

He still has an awkward throwing motion that is not going to change overnight. But he threw some legitimate NFL passes and he moved the chains. After his two preseason performances, Denver has to be mostly pleased with Tebow’s progress.

Tebow, who should play extensively against Minnesota in the preseason finale Thursday, should play in special packages as a rookie. He is not great as of right now, but he is making progress and he is learning from his mistakes, which is crucial for a young quarterback.

Meanwhile, Denver’s first-team offense was solid under the leadership of Kyle Orton, who has been outstanding in the preseason. Orton bounced back from a big hit from Pittsburgh’s James Harrison. Denver’s first-team offense has accounted for five touchdowns and one field goal for an average of 3.2 points per possession in 12 offensive drives under Orton this preseason.

Denver’s defense also made strides after a shaky showing in the first two games. Linebacker Robert Ayers showed a strong burst and perhaps he is ready to take the next step as Denver looks for a pass-rushing presence during Elvis Dumervil’s injury.