Saturday, December 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos upset Pittsburgh Steelers in NFL playoffs

DENVER — Tebow Time met overtime. And just like the other obstacles that have stood in Tim Tebow's way this season, overtime and the heavily favored Steelers had no chance.

Tebow, the former Florida standout whose stature as a football and social phenomenon was built on the foundation of fourth-quarter comebacks in the NFL, completed a 20-yard pass that Demaryius Thomas turned into an 80-yard touchdown on the first play of overtime Sunday, giving the Broncos a 29-23 upset of the Steelers in their AFC wild-card game.

It was the first overtime game since the NFL set rules that would allow overtime in a playoff game to end with just one team possessing the ball only if a touchdown was scored on the first possession.

It was the longest TD pass in NFL overtime history, and with just 11 seconds elapsed, it was the shortest overtime in history, regular season or postseason.

Tebow, told last week by Broncos executive and icon John Elway that he needed to "pull the trigger," now leads the Broncos against the top-seeded Patriots. After New England beat the Broncos last month, quarterback Tom Brady told Tebow the teams would meet again.

"He might have said something like that," Tebow said, smiling. "I guess he's a prophet."

Tebow might have been goofing on his public proclamations of Christian faith. But nobody is laughing off the second-year QB after he threw for 316 yards, on 10 completions, against the league's top-ranked defense.

Tebow, whose passer rating of 125.6 was the highest in Broncos postseason history, completed three of more than 50 yards (he had two in his career going in). It was the most in a playoff game since the 1970 merger, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Until now, Tebow's success has been an amalgam of fluky plays, great timing and good luck. Despite rallying to win five games after he was named the starter, he had been particularly poor during a three-game losing streak to end the regular season.

On Sunday, Tebow was not sacked, threw no interceptions and took advantage of a defense that dared him to pass.

It was on that kind of play that the winner came. Tebow waited for Thomas to slip behind blitzing safeties, then threaded the ball to Thomas.

"First of all, thank you, Lord," Tebow said he thought as he watched Thomas run. "Then, I was running after him, like I could catch D.T. Then I jumped in the stands, the first time I'd do that. That was fun."

Thomas' description: "I was open, and I just had to take it to the house."

Tebow completed the celebration with a victory lap. He acknowledged that he should have been more assertive in earlier games and that he was determined to play fast and aggressive in the playoffs.

"There's been a lot of critique of him. He stepped up," Broncos coach John Fox said.

In the first quarter, the Broncos had 8 yards of offense. But the Steelers struggled, too, short-circuiting drives with three dropped passes, settling for two field goals.

"He showed he's a quarterback in the NFL, case closed," Broncos running back Willis McGahee said of Tebow. "They say he couldn't throw. They said we wouldn't be able to run the ball on them. We did that. I wonder what they're going to say next week."

But will the Tebow questions really end?

"No," Fox said. "You never quiet the questions."

 
Comments
McCoy, David, Hargreaves all out Monday against Falcons

McCoy, David, Hargreaves all out Monday against Falcons

As if containing Julio Jones and the Falcons offense weren't challenging enough, the Bucs will try to so Monday night without perhaps their top two defensive players in DT Gerald McCoy and LB Lavonte David.Bucs coach Dirk Koetter on Saturday ruled bo...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs’ Ward glad to be back, eager for rematch with brother Terron

Bucs’ Ward glad to be back, eager for rematch with brother Terron

Bucs safety T.J. Ward will make a healthy return Monday after missing two games with a concussion, and it's also a chance to face his brother Terron, a running back with the Falcons."Our whole family's going to be there, rooting us on," T.J. said aft...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Jones: Tony Dungy didn’t leave the Bucs on the clearance rack

Jones: Tony Dungy didn’t leave the Bucs on the clearance rack

It is and always will be the greatest debate in Tampa Bay sports history.Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy?You don’t even need to say anything more than that. Bucs fans already know what you’re talking about.Gruden or Dungy?Who was most responsible for the on...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy? Why the debate rages on

Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy? Why the debate rages on

TAMPA — Bucs coach Jon Gruden did not win the Super Bowl with Tony Dungy’s team. Don’t believe me? Ask Dungy. "It wasn’t. They did a great job. They took it and tweaked it," Dungy said. "The same way I got a great (Colts) tea...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Staff writers pick sides (kind of) in the Dungy-Gruden debate

Staff writers pick sides (kind of) in the Dungy-Gruden debate

Even with — perhaps especially with —Jon Gruden set to be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor Monday night, Tampa Bay’s Great Sports Debate hasn’t abated. Who deserves more credit for the biggest moment in Tampa Bay sports history — the Bucs’ Super ...
Published: 12/16/17
Nobody has Jameis Winston’s back more than Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator Todd Monken insists

Nobody has Jameis Winston’s back more than Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator Todd Monken insists

Nobody is a bigger supporter of Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston than head coach Dirk Koetter.That was the passionate message that offensive coordinator/receivers coach Todd Monken unloaded at his news conference Friday, saying that reports that Winst...
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/16/17
Bucs journal: Adarius Glanton’s experience could come in handy for ailing LB corps

Bucs journal: Adarius Glanton’s experience could come in handy for ailing LB corps

TAMPA — The Bucs’ linebacker depth was tested during the first five weeks of the season, when Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander missed a combined six games with injuries.And now, as David is again sidelined by a hamstring injury, the experience gained...
Published: 12/15/17
Cannon Fodder podcast: Let’s revisit Monday night games in Bucs’ past

Cannon Fodder podcast: Let’s revisit Monday night games in Bucs’ past

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman has injury updates on Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy and a nostalgic trip through the Bucs’ history on Monday night, including the current three-game win streak and yes, that infamous 2003 Colts game where the Bucs were u...
Published: 12/15/17
Why the Bucs need a Dungy more than a Gruden

Why the Bucs need a Dungy more than a Gruden

TAMPA — The worst week of Dirk Koetter’s life rolls on.It’s Gruden Week, just like Shark Week, only with smaller teeth and a bigger playbook. It’s the big build-up to Gruden’s induction into the Buc Ring of Honor this Monday night, with the accompany...
Published: 12/15/17
Rick and Tom podcast: Is Dirk Koetter fighting for his job?

Rick and Tom podcast: Is Dirk Koetter fighting for his job?

In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss whether Dirk Koetter is fighting for his job the final three weeks of season. Is there a rift between him and Jameis Winston? Has Winston shown enough progress this year? And who are the Glaz...
Published: 12/15/17