DENVER (BP) — After three straight losses and speculation from analysts that his days as the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback were near an end, Tim Tebow answered his critics decisively in a 29-23 playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers Jan. 8.
Tebow threw for 316 yards, including a game-winning 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas on the first play in overtime to stun the Steelers in the quickest overtime win in NFL history.
“The emotions were definitely running pretty high,” Tebow told ESPN in a post-game interview. “As I was running down the field I just wanted to thank my Lord and Savior. And then I jumped into the stands, which I had never done before, but I was pretty excited, and then got back on a knee and thanked the Lord again and tried to celebrate with my teammates. What a special moment it was for us as a team, for the fans and for our coaches as well.”
Tebow, a member of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., took over the starting quarterback duties for the Broncos from Kyle Orton after the team started the season 1-4. Tebow led Denver to a 7-1 record over the next eight games before struggling in the final three games of the year. The Broncos backed into the playoffs with an 8-8 record when Oakland lost its final game to San Diego, giving Denver the division title.
Facing the Steelers in the AFC wild-card game in Denver, Tebow completed 10-of-21 passing attempts and threw two touchdown passes. He also rushed for 50 yards and another touchdown. His passer rating of 125.6 was the highest in team playoff history.
With the win, Denver advanced to the AFC divisional playoffs, where the Broncos will face New England on Saturday.
Tim Ellsworth is editor of BP Sports (www.bpsports.net) and director of news and media relations at Union University in Jackson, Tenn.