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Tim Tebow Touchdown To Demaryius Thomas In Overtime Lifts Broncos Over Steelers

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Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) reacts after throwing an 80-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) for the game winning touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime of an NFL wild card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)
Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) reacts after throwing an 80-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) for the game winning touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime of an NFL wild card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

On every first down during the second half of the AFC Wild Card matchup between the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers, the Broncos had run the ball. The same goes for the first quarter. The Steelers were clearly expecting more of the same during the opening drive of the overtime session. But Dick LeBeau's defense should have remembered those passing first downs during that 20-point second quarter. Tebow took shotgun snaps on the three drives (not including the kneel down on final play) that began in that prolific period.

To open the overtime, the Broncos split the difference. On his first offensive position of the extra session, Tebow took the snap under center and then feinted a hand off to Willis McGahee. Tebow pulled the ball back from McGahee and then dropped a few steps off the line as the Steelers pushed ahead, playing the run that wasn't coming. Most importantly, safety Ryan Mundy bit hard on the play fake, leaving no protection over the top for cornerback Ike Taylor, who was playing on the outside of Denver wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. Taylor seemed to be hoping to force Thomas toward the center of the park -- where he must have presumed Mundy would be there to help. But nobody was home.

Thomas bolted off the line and, seeing Mundy sprinting into the box, took off across the open space in the middle of the field. Tebow whistled a pass to the streaking wideout and hit him in stride as he crossed from left to right. Blazing toward the far sideline, Thomas brushed aside the trailing Thomas with a stiff arm. The last player to beat en route to the end zone was Mundy, who had covered quite a lot of ground to get back into the play. Thomas, however, would not be denied and zoomed into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.

The NFL's new overtime rules would not be a factor here as a touchdown on the opening offensive play still causes the game to end. After missing a key throw on his last possession in regulation, Tebow delivered this pass right on target. From there, Thomas did the rest, capping an incredible game.

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