This Time, Tebow Leads Broncos With His Arm
Posted on 12/4/2011 5:52:51 AM
The Denver Broncos extended their best win streak of the season to five games on Sunday in Minnesota. Andre' Goodman put Denver in position when he intercepted Vikings rookie QB Christian Ponder deep in Vikings territory with 1:33 to play. Broncos kicker Matt Prater successfully converted on a 23-yard field goal that left no time on the clock, and gave Denver a 35-32 win in Minneapolis.
It took only one play for Ponder to set the Broncos up with a chance to win the game, after he threw his second interception of the day, toward a blanketed receiver along the sideline. Goodman was able return the ball 20 yards after his interception, and allow the offense a chance to win the game. Denver regained possession inside the red zone, and RB Lance Ball rushed the ball four times for 12 yards, positioning a chip shot field goal attempt to win the game.
Bronco QB Tim Tebow led yet another late rally to give his team a chance at the end. Passing for a season-high 202 yards and two third-quarter touchdowns, he made timely throws and answered every time the Vikings took the lead. Receiver Demaryius Thomas was Tebow's main target throughout the game, as he caught four crucial passes for 144 yards and both touchdowns through the air. Bronco RB Willis McGahee also carried a large part of the load, rushing for 111 yards on 20 carries and adding a touchdown. Ponder had three total turnovers, two interceptions coming deep in Viking territory, and a lost fumble.
Although the Denver defense was carved up for nearly 500 yards, they made key plays when they were most needed, and forced three turnovers that led to 10 Broncos points. They also spent much more time on the field than their offense, with Minnesota controlling time of possession. A game that was 15-7 at halftime, changed dramatically in the second half as the two teams exchanged long scoring plays. Ultimately, the lack of turnovers made by Tebow gave his team a better chance to win, and haunted Ponder at the same time.
With their win, the Broncos move into a first-place tie in the AFC West with the Oakland Raiders, who lost to Miami 34-14 on Sunday. Under Tebow, they have a record of 6-1, and are also 5-0 on the road. The last time Denver won five straight road games, they had a guy named John Elway as their quarterback. Having four games remaining in the regular season, Denver now controls their own destiny within their division. Three of their final four games will be played at home, which should help their cause in a tight division race.
Another second-half collapse by the Vikings has to be particularly frustrating for rookie Ponder, who made plays all game to keep his team ahead, but also had untimely turnovers in the loss. Minnesota falls to 2-10 on the season, while also continuing a four-game losing streak. Numerous injuries and absences in the secondary and all over the defense have hindered the Vikings in attempting to hold late leads. The status of head coach Leslie Frazier is certainly in question with his team suffering so many late losses this season, but even he cannot be blamed for the big plays and dismal play of his secondary in the second-half of games.
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