The Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers went to overtime tied at 23-23, and became the first teams that played under the revised overtime rules for the postseason, which require the kicking team in overtime to get a possession unless the first team to possess scores a touchdown.
Then Tim Tebow hit Demaryius Thomas in stride over the middle , and Thomas outran the defenders to the sideline and down it for the walk off touchdown on the very first play. So much for needing complicated rules. It is the fourth game winning touchdown pass in overtime playoff history, joining Kenny Stabler to Dave Casper (Ghost to the Post) in 1977 against the Colts, Jim Everett to Flipper Anderson in 1989 against the Giants, and Jake Delhomme to Steve Smith in 2003 against the Rams.
The first quarter belonged to the Steelers, but they did not score enough, only managing 6 points on two drives, while Denver managed 10 total yards. Then, the second quarter belonged to Tebow and the Broncos on big passing plays. Casey Hampton and Brett Keisel went out with injuries, and Tebow started throwing deep strikes against single coverage, including an impressive touchdown throw to Eddie Royal. Big Ben was clearly affected by the injury in the second quarter, and threw an interception. Denver did not take full advantage and kicked two late field goals to make it 20-6 at the half.
The Steelers got a break early in the second half, trailing 20-6 deep in their own territory, when Roethlisberger threw a backward lateral to Mike Wallace that was dropped and ruled an incomplete pass. The whistle blew before Elvis Dumervil recovered what should have been a fumble. Pittsburgh then went on a long touchdown drive to get back in the game.
Roethlisberger clearly got some of the good stuff at halftime, as he moved around much better in the second half. After Denver extended it to 23-13 (and then Pittsburgh matched with a field goal), the Broncos were driving again when Willis McGahee fumbled. Pittsburgh went down and scored, as Champ Bailey just missed an interception, right before Big Ben hit Jerricho Cotchery for the tying score.
[photo via Getty]