Final/OT

Bears 10

(7-6, 2-4 away)

Broncos 13

(8-5, 3-3 home)

Coverage: FOX

4:05 PM ET, December 11, 2011

Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, CO 

1 2 3 4 OT T
CHI 0 0 7 3 010
DEN 0 0 0 10 313

Top Performers

Passing: T. Tebow (DEN) - 236 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: M. Barber (CHI) - 27 CAR, 108 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: D. Thomas (DEN) - 7 REC, 78 YDS, 1 TD

Tim Tebow rallies Broncos to late tie, past shocked Bears in OT

Associated Press

DENVER -- Wild wins are becoming routine for Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos, who flail away through most of four quarters before coming through in the clutch.

Matt Prater's 51-yard field goal 6½ minutes into overtime gave the Broncos a 13-10 victory over the stunned Chicago Bears on Sunday. Prater's 59-yarder with 3 seconds left in regulation tied the score after Tebow led another rally.

"If you believe," Tebow said, "then unbelievable things can sometimes be possible."

It was Denver's sixth straight win and seventh in eight games since Tebow, dubbed the "Mile High Messiah," was promoted to starter. The Broncos have trailed in the second half in six of those victories.

This latest comeback put Denver in sole possession of first place in the AFC West after Oakland's 46-16 drubbing at Green Bay.

"Never say never," wide receiver Eric Decker said. "That's a great characteristic of this team. ... Again it wasn't pretty. But again in the fourth quarter, we found a way to make some plays. Matt Prater, man, the kid can boom it."

After failing to score on their first dozen possessions, the Broncos (8-5) erased a 10-0 deficit in the final 2:08 of regulation.

"I think we're rewriting the book on 'keep fighting,' " coach John Fox said. "Our guys never blink. They remain positive. As bad as it looked today -- we didn't play well; we had some drops. But the guy who dropped a couple of passes caught the ... touchdown. That's kind of the M.O. on this bunch."

Tebow hit Demaryius Thomas with a 10-yard TD pass, then got the ball back with 53 seconds left after Marion Barber saved the Broncos precious time by going out of bounds when the Bears were trying to run out the clock.

Denver was out of timeouts after Thomas' touchdown and had to try an onside kick, which the Broncos couldn't recover. But on second down after the two-minute warning, Barber cut outside and was pushed out, stopping the clock.

The Bears would have to punt, and Tebow got the ball back at his 20 and went to work, not needing to go far with Prater's strong leg in the thin air.

He drove the Broncos 39 yards for Prater's kick, which he rocketed through the uprights.

"We missed the onside kick. Then, all of a sudden, Barber goes out of bounds and gives us a chance," Champ Bailey marveled. "We knew right then we still had a fighting chance. If you give our offense a chance in the end, good things might happen."

The Bears (7-6) won the toss in overtime and quickly got into field goal range before Barber, who rushed for 108 yards but will be remembered for his two late mistakes, coughed up the football at the Broncos 34, and Elvis Dumervil recovered.

Barber had already broken through the first line of defense for the first down when linebacker Wesley Woodyard reached out and grabbed his right arm, popping the ball loose.

"It's crazy," Bailey said. "He has a free lane to run. All of a sudden, somebody snatches the ball out. Wow! We made a play when we had to. We hadn't had a turnover all day."

All of a sudden, it was Tebow Time. Again.

"It's not Tebow Time," the quarterback retorted. "It's Broncos Time."

While Tebow was leading the Broncos on their game-winning drive, Barber looked despondent, and quarterback Caleb Hanie comforted him.

"He was making a tough run, trying to get extra yards," Hanie said. "It's unfortunate. You want to stay in right there but that didn't lose the game for us. We lost it by not generating more points."

Barber, who hasn't talked to reporters since training camp, avoided the media after the game.

"I hate to say it -- we gave this one to them," Hanie said.

Tebow took the Broncos from their 34 to the Chicago 33, and Prater sent the stadium into delirium.

"I don't know if they just kind of wait until they think, 'Oh, man, we might lose this game,' and start playing," Fox said. "It's aging me quickly."

Tebow, who also led the Broncos to wins in OT at Miami and San Diego, ran 12 times for 49 yards and completed 21 of 40 passes for a season-best 236 yards.

Tebow was intercepted once, fumbled the ball away on another play and was sacked five times by Brian Urlacher & Co., who couldn't seal the win despite their stout defense.

The Bears, whose playoff hopes are faltering, are 0-3 since Hanie replaced an injured Jay Cutler, the former Broncos QB who has a broken thumb on his throwing hand and is out indefinitely.

Hanie completed 12 of 19 passes for 115 yards and was sacked four times.

The Bears also were without star running back Matt Forte, who's out indefinitely with a knee injury. His replacement, Barber, broke a scoreless tie in the third quarter with a 9-yard touchdown run.

With safeties Brian Dawkins (neck) and David Bruton (calf) sidelined, the Broncos were left with rookies Quinton Carter and Raheem Moore, and both of them missed the tackle on Barber's TD. Cornerback Andre' Goodman sustained a concussion three plays before Barber scored.

Barber gained 16 yards on a screen pass from Hanie on third-and-27 on the final play of the third quarter, setting up Robbie Gould's team-record 57-yard field goal.

He would be outdone by Prater, who's never had this many pressurized kicks.

"I am definitely going to be bald at the end of the season," Prater said. "Bald or gray, one of the two."

Game notes


Bears GM Jerry Angelo said he was not considering retirement, disputing an NFL Network report that raised the possibility. ... The Broncos have recorded at least two sacks in 12 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
CHI
DEN
1st Downs1220
Passing 1st downs
513
Rushing 1st downs
75
1st downs from Penalties
02
3rd down efficiency
2-155-17
4th down efficiency
0-00-0
Total Plays6179
Total Yards245345
Yards per play4.04.4
Total Drives1415
Passing86221
Comp - Att
12-1921-40
Yards per pass
4.55.5
Interceptions thrown
01
Sacks - Yards Lost
4-295-15
Rushing159124
Rushing Attempts
3834
Yards per rush
4.23.6
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-11-2
Penalties8-694-28
Turnovers12
Fumbles lost
11
Interceptions thrown
01
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession31:4734:39

Passing Leaders

CHIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Hanie12/191156.1004-29
DENC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Tebow21/402365.9115-15

Rushing Leaders

CHICARYDSAVGTDLG
Barber271084.0117
Bell9404.4013
DENCARYDSAVGTDLG
Tebow12494.1016
McGahee17342.007

Receiving Leaders

CHIRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Knox33712.30195
Barber23216.00164
DENRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Thomas77811.111613
Willis47518.80238

Scoring Summary

THIRD QUARTERCHIDEN
chiTD05:19Marion Barber 9 Yd Run (Robbie Gould Kick) 70
FOURTH QUARTERCHIDEN
chiFG14:55Robbie Gould 57 Yd 100
denTD02:08Demaryius Thomas 10 Yd Pass From Tim Tebow (Matt Prater Kick) 107
denFG00:03Matt Prater 59 Yd 1010
OVERTIMECHIDEN
denFG08:34Matt Prater 51 Yd 1013

Research Notes

Robbie Gould's 57-yard FG is the longest in Bears history. Previous long was a 55-yard FG, done 3 times and most recently by Kevin Butler at Tampa Bay on 12/12/93.
Tebow has been a totally different quarterback in the fourth quarter and overtime all season.
  [+]

BroncosTim Tebow has six game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime in his first 11 starts. That is the most such drives in a player's first 11 career starts of any player to debut since the merger.

  [+]
From Elias: Matt Prater has kicked a pair of 50-yard FG in overtime this season (52-yard FG in Week 7 at Miami; 51-yard FG Sunday vs Bears). The only kicker previously with 2 CAREER 50-yard FG in overtime was Greg Davis, who had one in 1989 and one in 1994.
Since Week 7, the week Tim Tebow became the Broncos starting QB this season, Tebow leads all NFL quarterbacks in total yards in the fourth quarter. He also leads QBs in total yards in the fourth quarter and OT. Keep in mind for this stat that Eli Manning plays tonight.
  [+]
For a while, Tim Tebow and "turnovers" didn't appear in the same sentence. But that has changed. Tebow has thrown an interception and lost a fumble today, giving him three turnovers in the last two games.
  [+]

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