By Ron Chenoy, US Presswire, from USA Today
DENVER -- Denver Broncos fans might not want to admit this, but the first three quarters of every Broncos game have become a fine time to tend to the weekend to-do list.
Tebow Time doesn't start until sometime in the fourth. That was the case again Sunday, as the Broncos scored 10 points in the final 2:08 of regulation to tie the Chicago Bears, then won the game in overtime 13-10, on a Matt Prater 51-yard field goal.
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"We are rewriting the book on 'keep fighting,' " Broncos coach John Fox said.
Tim Tebow has led the Broncos to five fourth-quarter comebacks since replacing Kyle Orton at starting quarterback eight games ago, when Denver was 1-4.
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"I guess I've just got to get to the stadium and start practicing a little bit earlier," Tebow said.
The win is Denver's sixth in a row, and secures the Broncos (8-5) the AFC West lead, which they shared with Oakland entering Sunday's games. Chicago dropped to 7-6, further clouding its playoff chances.
The Broncos could be playoff bound, but the only prediction coming out of Denver locker room Sunday was this: "I'm definitely going to be going bald by the end of the season," said the 27-year-old Prater, who has made four game-winning field goals this season. "Bald or gray, one of the two."
Denver could have made Sunday's game much less of a heart-stopper but muffed two scoring chances earlier in the game. A 28-yard attempt by Prater was blocked in the second quarter. In the third quarter, Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas broke away from coverage near the end zone but let a deep pass slip from Tebow through his hands.
Tebow said he told Thomas not to worry about it, that Thomas would score the game-winning touchdown.
The prediction was off, but not by much.
With 4:34 left in regulation, the Broncos were trailing 10-0. Tebow completed seven straight passes to lead Denver on a 63-yard scoring drive, capped by two receptions by Thomas. The 10-yard touchdown catch came with 2:08 remaining.
"It was just a big relief," Thomas said.
Chicago, still leading by three points, lost the opportunity to run off time on the clock when running back Marion Barber, starting in place of the injured Matt Forte, ran out of bounds with less than two minutes left in regulation.
"I might have thanked the Lord when he did that," Tebow said.
Tebow and the Broncos offense regained possession with 53 seconds left. Tebow completed three passes to put the Broncos in field-goal range, then Prater kicked a career record-tying 59-yarder with eight seconds left to send the game into overtime.
"You can't say enough about Prater and how clutch he is," Tebow said.
Two minutes into overtime, with the Bears in field-goal range, Barber solidified his status as the game's goat, as Broncos defenders stripped the ball away from him. Barber was not available for comment after the game.
"In that situation, a lot of things are going through your head," fellow Chicago running Kahlil Bell said. "I didn't really know what to think."
After Barber's fumble, Tebow used a mix of his trademark runs and passes to set up Prater's winning field goal.
"My teammates made me look a lot better than I am," said Tebow, who completed 21 of 40 passes for 236 yards and was the Broncos' leading rusher with 49 yards.
The Broncos are making everyone look twice, and making clutch time must-see television.
"This has been a fun ride," Fox said. "I don't think we are done yet."