Tim Tebow finally flexed his left arm and found one more fantastic finish up his sleeve.
After Ben Roethlisberger rallied the Pittsburgh Steelers from a two-touchdown deficit, the Denver Broncos won the overtime coin toss, and on first down, Tebow tucked the ball in Willis McGahee’s belly like he’d done all afternoon.
The linebackers and safety Troy Polamalu all bit on the play-action fake, and Tebow hit wide receiver Demaryius Thomas for an electrifying 80-yard touchdown that stunned the Steelers 29-23 in the AFC wild-card game Sunday.
Thomas reached high to haul in Tebow’s pass, stiff-armed cornerback Ike Thomas and outraced backup safety Ryan Mundy to the end zone for Denver’s first playoff win in six years.
In 11 seconds—the shortest overtime in NFL history—Tebow showed he could be a conventional QB. It was also the longest overtime touchdown in playoff history.
“Case closed,” McGahee said. “They say he couldn’t throw. They said we wouldn’t be able to run the ball on them. We did that. I wonder what they’re going to say next week.”
The Broncos (9-8) will face the top-seeded New England Patriots (13-3) on Saturday night.
ebow threw for a season-high 316 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 50 yards and another score while slicing up the league’s top defense—which was missing its top tackler, Ryan Clark, held out because of a blood condition that’s exacerbated at altitude.
As Thomas sped down Denver’s sideline, several teammates and coaches were tagging along and would mob him in the end zone. Elway thrust his hands into the air like he used to when he was the one engineering all these Broncos comebacks.
Tebow, too, chased down Thomas and knelt on one knee—Tebowing as it’s known—in the end zone. Then he pounded a fist in triumph and took a victory lap after his fourth overtime win this season.
“When I saw him scoring, first of all, I just thought, `Thank you, Lord,”’ Tebow said. “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.”