NFL Wildcard: Denver Steels Another One

With just one play in OT, the Broncos gallop past Pittsburgh for the win.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

‘Tebow Time’ is back. And this time it only took 11 seconds.

In the most thrilling post-season NFL football game in recent memory, the Denver Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday evening at Sports Authority Field in what would be the quickest overtime in league history. All it took was one-play, lasting a whopping 11 seconds, total: an 80 yard touchdown pass delivered from Tim Tebow to Demaryius Thomas to end the game 29-23.

Tebow stated after the win, “When I saw him scoring, first of all, I just thought, `Thank you, Lord, then, I was running pretty fast, chasing him—like I can catch up to D.T! Then I just jumped into the stands, first time I’ve done that. That was fun. Then, got on a knee and thanked the Lord again and tried to celebrate with my teammates and the fans.”

The 80 yard pass was the longest play Pittsburgh had given up all season, and it was also the longest overtime play in NFL post-season history.

Thomas had an incredible game, hauling in not only the game winning touchdown, but 204 yards on just 4 receptions.

“I was just saying, `Man trust your speed. Trust your speed. Don’t cut back. Don’t cut back.’ And he kept it straight. He outran the guy,” said Denver running back Willis McGahee after the game, in regards to Thomas’ huge play.

And I’m sure McGahee was thrilled to see Denver get away with the win. He had two fumbles in the game, one for a loss, which helped Pittsburgh re-emerge in the second half to tie things up.

Pittsburgh led 6-0 early, until Tebow & Co. went on an offensive burst in the second quarter, connecting with Eddie Royal on a 30 yard TD pass and another 12 yard run in which Tebow took into the end zone himself to give the Broncos a commanding lead. After two more field goals, Denver led at the half 20-6. The re-emergence for Pittsburgh came in the second half.

Mike Wallace had a sneaky 1-yard run for TD, and a late 4th quarter 31 yard TD pass to Jericho Cotchery from ‘Big Ben’ evened up the score 23-23.

In fact, it looked as if Pittsburgh would make a final drive to kick a game-winning field goal in the last seconds of regulation, until Denver was able to break through the line and sack quarterback Ben Roethlisberger three times on the final possession. The entire lost yardage kept them out of range, forcing overtime. With Denver winning the coin toss, we all know what would then ensue.

“We’re just a fighting team. A lot of resilience,” cornerback Champ Bailey said. “In any adverse situation, we’ll find a way to get out of it. Everybody says we backed into the playoffs, we’re in. We did something right along the way. We’re in it. We won a game. Now, we’ve got to go try to win another one.”

Tebow finished the game 10/21 with 3 total TD’s and 316 yards passing, good for a QB rating of 125.6, the highest in Denver post season history.

Denver now gets New England next weekend for the Divisional Playoffs. New England whacked Denver last month 41-23. If Tebow still has more of his famous ‘time’ on his clock, then Tom Brady and the Pats better be ready for a battle. However, on the other hand, some fans might be wondering if what Tebow will really need after next weekend’s game is a flux capicitor.