It also provided an expeditious conclusion to the first instance of the modified sudden-death rules in a playoff game. Despite referee Ron Winter's carefully worded rundown of the rules before overtime, some players still were flying blind during the extra session.
That included Thomas, who was unaware his big play had propelled the Broncos deeper into the playoffs.
"I saw Champ run up to me in the tunnel, and I was like, 'What's going on?' " Thomas said Monday, according to The Denver Post.
Under the new rules, both teams have a chance to possess the ball in overtime unless the team that receives the initial kickoff scores a touchdown or the defense scores on an interception, safety or fumble recovery.
With the help of a sweet Tim Tebow pass and his own vicious stiff-arm, Thomas ensured Pittsburgh will have to wait until September for its next offensive series.