PITTSBURGH -- For all of the anticipation surrounding Tim Tebow's role in the Jets' offense, the designated Wildcat quarterback has had precious little impact. As in: almost none whatsoever.
In a 48-28 rout of the Bills, Tebow ran five times for 11 yards and didn't throw a single pass. And in Sunday's 27-10 loss to the Steelers, he played even less. Tebow appeared in just one series, carried once for 22 yards, handed off twice, and that was it.
Tebow didn't play until midway through the third quarter, with the Jets trailing 20-10 after Ben Roethlisberger's 37-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace. Taking a shotgun snap from the Jets' 27-yard line on first down, Tebow ran up the middle to the 49. After being tackled, he got up, looked to the Jets' sideline and exhorted his team to get back in the game.
"I was trying to get a little momentum back on our side, try to get a little spark," Tebow said of his run. "I felt like we did that a little bit."
Tebow handed off to Joe McKnight on the next play, and McKnight gained 12 yards to the Pittsburgh 39. But after Shonn Greene took a Tebow handoff and lost 6 yards, Mark Sanchez came back in. He threw incomplete twice and the Jets punted.
Tebow never made another appearance except as a blocker for punter Robert Malone.
"We've just got to be able to sustain it and not have a negative play," Tebow said, referring to the 6-yard loss. "When you do that, it hurts. Without that, I felt like we got some momentum going and had a good chance to go down and score."
The last time Tebow faced the Steelers, he was the Broncos' quarterback in a 29-23 overtime win in Denver in last season's AFC wild-card playoff round. Tebow threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns, including one on the first play in OT. Tebow hit Demaryius Thomas in stride over the middle and he ran for an 80-yard score.
It was a far quieter day for Tebow at Heinz Field. As time ticked off near the end of the fourth quarter, Steelers fans derisively chanted "Te-bow! Te-bow!" perhaps as much out of relief that the former Heisman Trophy winner hadn't ruined their day this time.
"I don't pay attention and listen to it," Tebow said when asked if he heard the chants.
He wouldn't second-guess his lack of game action, though.
"It's hard for me to say what the plan is. I just go in when they tell me and try to do the best I can," he said.
"I'm just trying to help the team any way I can. We had things rolling for a little bit and just try to keep things going a little just to keep the momentum going. We got a touchdown the first drive.
"It's a game of momentum. When you lose it, it's hard to get it back. I'm just trying to do the best I can in this role and just get better every day and help this team try and win football games. Unfortunately, we came up short today."
Could Tebow have provided a spark had he played more?
"I just want to be ready whenever my number is called and try to go in there and help the team," he said. "Whatever my role is, I just try to stay ready at all times."