Quarterback Tim Tebow launched an 80-yard game-winning touchdown pass to second-year receiver Demaryius Thomas as the Denver Broncos (9-8 overall) upset the Pittsburgh Steelers (12-5 overall), 29-23, in overtime in the AFC wild card round of the NFL Playoff Jan. 8 in Denver, Colo. The No. 4 seed Broncos advanced to the second round to face the No. 1 seed New England Patriots on Jan. 14.

Most Outstanding Player(s) of the Game:

There hasn’t been a NFL player who has received more national media attention this season than Tebow; he proved why he’s so interesting to watch and talk about as he burned the Steelers’ top-ranked defense with a game-winning touchdown pass in overtime Sunday. That marked the sixth time this season Tebow has orchestrated a fourth quarter or overtime game winning drive this season. Tebow finished the game completing 10-of-21 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing).

On the receiving end of several of Tebow’s completions was fellow second-year player Demaryius Thomas, who caught four passes for a game-high 204 yards and the game-ending touchdown. Thomas was drafted in the first round of the 2010 draft, but missed most of last season due to serious injury. His performance against Pittsburgh proves he still has the premiere talent that landed him in Denver in the first place.

Unsung Hero of the Game:
Most of the Steelers players will probably want to erase this game from their memory, but it was actually a career-best performance for Pitt running back Isaac Redman. The former Bowie State University star is usually the backup running back, but started in place for the injured Rashard Mendenhall. Redman made the best of his opportunity, rushing for a career-high 121 yards on 17 carriers despite the loss.

More Game Notes:
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 22-of-40 for 289 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He brought Pittsburgh back from a 14-point deficit in the second half to a forced overtime. Steeler’s cornerback Ike Taylor led his team with seven tackles, but failed to make the tackle on Thomas in overtime on the play that ultimately ended the game.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor