Tebow rallies Denver to 18-15 win over Miami

Associated Press
Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow celebrates a 2-point conversion during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, in Miami. (AP Photo/Hans Deryk)
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Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow celebrates a 2-point conversion during the second half of an NFL …

MIAMI (AP) — For 54 minutes, Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos couldn't score.

Then they couldn't be stopped.

Tebow rallied the Broncos with two touchdown passes in the final 2:44 of the fourth quarter to force overtime, and Matt Prater's 52-yard field goal gave them an improbable 18-15 victory Sunday over the stunned Miami Dolphins.

The Broncos appeared beaten when they trailed 15-0 with 5:23 left and took over at their 20. At that point Tebow was 4 for 14 for 40 yards.

But Tebow led TD drives of 80 and 56 yards sandwiched around a successful onside kick, and he scored a 2-point conversion standing up with 17 seconds left to tie the game.

In overtime, Denver's D.J. Williams sacked Matt Moore to force a fumble and recovered it at the Miami 36. Three plays later Prater hit the game-winner.

The Broncos (2-4) won for the first time in the eight games they've played on the Dolphins' field. Miami (0-6) extended the NFL's longest losing streak to nine games, leaving the status of embattled coach Tony Sparano even more tenuous.

The Dolphins lost for the 12th time in their past 13 home games.

Tebow made his first start of the year after Denver benched Kyle Orton, and for much of the game the Broncos sputtered. As Tebow walked to the sideline after one series stalled, spectators chanted his name in derision, and Dolphins players gestured to the crowd to keep the jeers coming.

But with the Broncos on the verge of being shut out for the first time since 1992, Tebow led an eight-play touchdown drive that got them back in the game. Matthew Willis' 42-yard reception was a pivotal play, and Tebow threw a 5-yard scoring pass to Demaryius Thomas with 2:44 left to make the score 15-7.

Then came the onside kick. Miami receiver Marlon Moore leaped to catch the ball but bobbled it and the Broncos' Virgil Green recovered at their 44 with 2:31 left.

Tebow's strike to a diving Daniel Fells gained 28 yards to the 3. Two plays later, Tebow fooled the Dolphins by rolling left and throwing back to the right to Fells, who dived across the goal line for a 3-yard score with 17 seconds left.

Denver still needed a 2-point conversion to stay alive, and Tebow kept up the middle and the game moved to overtime.

Prater missed field-goal attempts of 49 and 43 yards in regulation, but his kick with 7:24 left in OT gave Denver the victory.

While the Broncos were two time zones from home, lots of fans wore Tebow jerseys, and the popular quarterback drew a big roar trotting onto the field for his first series. Tebow won a 2005 high school state championship and the 2008 national title with the Florida Gators in the same stadium.

Crowd loyalties were divided even at halftime, when the Dolphins paid tribute to the 2008 Gators. Seventeen former Gators and former coach Urban Meyer took part in the ceremony, drawing a mix of cheers and jeers.

Despite the salute to the Gators and Tebow mania, the stadium was almost half empty at the start — a sign of growing fan discontent with the Dolphins.

The crowd was booing the home team before Miami's first series ended, but Denver moved the ball no better. Together the two teams failed to convert their first 16 third-down situations.

Tebow's first pass was tipped by a defender, and several subsequent throws landed nowhere near a receiver. He struggled to identify blitzes and looked unsettled in the pocket.

Midway through the third period Denver had netted 2 yards on 10 pass plays, an average of 7 inches per play. But Tebow's final stats were better — 13 for 27 for 161 yards. He was sacked seven times but ran for 65 yards in eight carries.

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