The Denver Broncos won the overtime coin toss, and Tim Tebow quickly went to work.
Demaryius Thomas hauled in a play-action pass from Tebow at the Broncos' 38-yard line, stiff-armed Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor and then outraced safety Ryan Mundy to the end zone for the winning, 80-yard touchdown just 11 seconds into the extra session.
"I felt like I probably could have helped Ike out," said Mundy, who was filling in for Ryan Clark as Pittsburgh's leading tackler sat out as a precaution because of a blood disorder that's exacerbated by Denver's altitude. "That's a tough coverage for (Taylor). No help, and my help was late. This game wasn't on Ike. We win as a team, we lose as a team."
"I told him I loved him," said Roethlisberger, who played on an injured ankle and went 22-of-44 passing for 289 yards and one TD.
"I apologize for playing the worst game at the wrong time apologize to my teammates steelernation and family. Luv y'all to def," Taylor wrote on Twitter.
The Tebow-to-Thomas connection denied fans a good look at the NFL's new playoffs overtime rule. Under the new format, which came into play for the first time in this game, each team is guaranteed a possession in overtime -- unless, that is, the team that takes the ball first scores a touchdown.
"They said, 'We're going to run this play, all you have to do is cross the safety's face,' " said Thomas, like Tebow a 2010 first-round draft pick. "I was walking to the line and saw the safety come down, and I knew, at that time, the play we had called, the only person I had to beat was the corner."
That corner was Taylor, and Thomas did as he planned, making the Steelers the latest victims of Tebow's magic.
"They'll be able to play New England next week (in the divisional round), and that will be a good challenge for them."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.