Denver Broncos  

 

Broncos' remarkable run has been total team effort

  • By Jeff Darlington NFL.com
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DENVER -- Well before Tebow Time turned into a new pop-culture phrase to describe Tim Tebow's heroics in the closing moments of recent games, linebacker Von Miller already had two words inked into the skin of his right pectoral muscle as a play off the popular beer slogan: Miller Time.

These days, the tattoo couldn't be more appropriate. In Denver, before it ever gets to be Tebow Time, the efforts of someone else's actions often have helped put the Broncos into the right situation. Sometimes, it's Miller Time. Or Prater Time. Or McGahee Time.

After all, as supporters and skeptics agree, Tebow isn't just making this magic on his own -- and he's the first one to recognize this. His teammates also get it. Everyone, it seems, appreciates and accepts the current dynamic that is occurring in Denver, where the team has won seven of eight games since Tebow took over as starter.

So while Tebow most certainly deserves massive credit for his ability to will this team to victories late in games, we still decided it's time to trace through each of Tebow's wins to call out the players who have provided him with John Stockton-like assists.

(Click on game recap link for highlights of specific plays.)

Win No. 1: Broncos at Dolphins
The situation: Denver trailing 15-0 with 5:23 left in fourth quarter.
The result: Broncos win 18-15 in overtime.
Tebow's helpers: TE Daniel Fells, TE Virgil Green, LB D.J. Williams.
The key plays:

» With 2:44 left in regulation, kicker Matt Prater's onside kick was recovered by Broncos TE Virgil Green at the Broncos' 44-yard line.

» With 56 seconds left in regulation, TE Daniel Fells left his feet and outstretched his body for a really nice 28-yard catch at the 3-yard line. Two plays later, Tebow hits Fells for a 30-yard touchdown that helped send the game to overtime.

» On the Dolphins' second offensive series of overtime, Miami faced first-and-10 at its own 43. D.J. Williams sacked Matt Moore for an 8-yard loss, forced and recovered the fumble in overtime. The Broncos took over at Miami's 36, and Prater kicks a 52-yard FG for the win.

Win No. 2: Broncos at Raiders
The situation: Game tied at the start of the fourth quarter.
The result: Broncos win 38-24.
Tebow's helpers: Chris Harris, Willis McGahee, Eddie Royal.
The key plays:

» As the third quarter was nearing its end, CB Chris Harris intercepted a deflected Carson Palmer pass. On the next play, McGahee ran 60 yards for a touchdown to tie the game for the start of the fourth quarter.

» With six minutes left, Eddie Royal fielded a punt at the 15-yard line -- and returned it 85 yards for a touchdown. Tebow didn't throw a pass in the fourth quarter. And he didn't need to. Royal's touchdown gave Denver a 31-24 lead.

Win No. 3: Broncos at Kansas City
The situation: The Broncos never trailed in this game.
The result: Broncos win 17-10.
Tebow's helpers: Coach John Fox, RB Lance Ball.
The key plays:

» Tebow completed two pass plays all game. One of them? A deep-ball strike to WR Eric Decker, who finished the play for a 56-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

» First, RB Willis McGahee went down with a hamstring injury. Then, Knowshon Moreno left with a season-ending knee injury later in the quarter. NFL journeyman Lance Ball handled the load, carrying 30 times for 96 yards.

Win No. 4: Jets at Broncos
The situation: Broncos trailed 13-10 with less than 2 minutes in the game.
The result: Broncos win 17-13.
Tebow's helpers: CB Andre Goodman, some random fan.
The key plays:

» With 4:27 left in the third quarter, the Broncos trailed by seven when cornerback Andre Goodman jumped in front of a Sanchez pass, intercepted it and returned it for a 26-yard touchdown.

» On third-and-4 from the Jets' 20, with 1:06 remaining in regulation, a fan ran onto the field, giving the Broncos an extra minute of rest. The Jets decided to call their first full blitz of the game. Tebow read it, rolled left and rumbled for a 20-yard touchdown.

The first issue of NFL Magazine, which features Tim Tebow on the cover, hits newsstands Tuesday. Want to subscribe? <a href=http://www.thenflmagazine.com/>Click here.</a>
The first issue of NFL Magazine, which features Tim Tebow on the cover, hits newsstands Tuesday. Want to subscribe? Click here. (Special to NFL.com)

Win 5: Broncos at Chargers
The situation: Broncos trailed 13-10 at the start of the fourth quarter.
The result: Broncos win 16-13 in overtime.
Tebow's helpers: LB Von Miller, WR Eric Decker, RB Willis McGahee.
The key plays:

» On third-and-11 with 4:19 remaining in the game, Eric Decker made an incredible 39-yard catch, also suffering an injury on the play. The conversion kept the drive alive -- and led to a game-tying field goal.

» On third-and-6 at Denver's 31-yard line, with the Chargers in field-goal range for the win, linebacker Von Miller tackled Ryan Tolbert for a four-yard loss, forcing a longer kick attempt on the next play. Nick Novak missed the 53-yard attempt wide right.

» During the final overtime drive, McGahee burst for a 24-yard run to the 17-yard line. The play set up the game-winning kick by Prater.

Win 6: Broncos at Vikings
The situation: The Broncos trailed 29-21 at the start of the fourth quarter; they were down 32-29 with two minutes to play.
The result: Broncos win 35-32
Tebow's helpers: RB Willis McGahee, CB Andre Goodman, K Matt Prater.
The key plays:

» McGahee rumbled for a huge 24-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, leading to a two-point conversion on the next play to tie the game at 29.

» With 1:33 remaining in a tied game and the Vikings driving for a chance to win, cornerback Andre Goodman intercepted a Christian Ponder pass and returned it 20 yards to the Vikings' 15-yard line.

» Shortly after Goodman's pick, kicker Matt Prater kicked a 23-yard FG to win the game. He'd also previously kicked a 46-yard field goal to tie the game with less than two minutes left.

Win 7: Bears at Broncos
The situation: With 2:15 remaining, the Broncos trailed 10-0.
The result: Broncos win 13-10.
Tebow's helpers: Bears RB Marion Barber, kicker Matt Prater.
The key plays:

» On second-and-10, with 1:55 left in the fourth quarter, the Bears had the ball and the Broncos had no timeouts. Yet Bears RB Marion Barber goes out of bounds, stopping the clock. The Bears punted one play later, and the Broncos had enough time to set up a 59-yard attempt with 8 seconds left that Prater nails.

» In overtime, on third-and-7 at the 28-yard line, within field goal range, the Bears were trying to gain just a few more yards before attempting a game-winning kick. Instead, Barber fumbles. The Broncos recovered, which allowed Prater to then kick another long FG, this time a 51-yarder, for the win.

Follow Jeff Darlington on Twitter @jeffdarlington

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