MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos came through again with a strong, determined finish after enduring another slow start.

This time, Tebow was in a groove the entire second half — not just in the waning minutes — and his teammates on defense were getting gobbled up. But there they were in the end, emulating Tebow’s late-game touch.

Tebow passed for a season-best 202 yards and two third-quarter touchdowns to help the unflappable Broncos win their fifth straight game, 35-32 over the Minnesota Vikings Sunday on Matt Prater’s 23-yard field goal as time expired.

“I know that I had a lot of help. Offensive line did a great job, and receivers stepped up and made me look a lot better than I really am,” said Tebow, who completed 10 of 15 passes, his best percentage as an NFL starter, and posted a career-high passer rating of 149.3.

Prater kicked two field goals in the final 93 seconds for the Broncos (7-5), who forged a first-place tie in the AFC West with a loss by the Oakland Raiders. Christian Ponder set Minnesota’s single-game rookie record with 381 yards passing, including a pair of long touchdowns to Percy Harvin, but his sideline throw with 1:33 remaining was intercepted by Andre Goodman and returned to the 15-yard line.

Lance Ball’s first-down run for 11 yards made it first-and-goal at the 4 with 1:12 remaining, but the Vikings decided against letting them score right away and took their chances with a shank or a block instead. But the Broncos drained the clock for Prater’s winner and raised their record to 6-1 with Tebow as the starter.

“Hard to argue. That guy wins games,” Ponder said.

Harvin had a career-high 156 yards for the Vikings (2-10), who lost their fourth in a row.

“Too many times this year we’ve had leads and then had letdowns or missed assignments,” Harvin said. “It’s another game we feel we had control of, and to somehow let it slip away, that’s disgusting.”

In seven games with Tebow, the Broncos offense has 30 first-half points. They were blanked in this one, on the board only because of Mario Haggan’s 16-yard interception return for a first-quarter score. Tebow’s third turnover of the season, a sack by Jared Allen that forced a fumble with 39 seconds left before halftime, gave the Vikings three free points.

But they can’t be counted out. Whether their unconventional quarterback is trying to complete a down-field pass or if they’re flirting again with defeat, the Broncos haven’t flinched.

“There were a lot of questions on the outside. Sometimes it gets built up like they were on the inside, but the one thing I will say is the guy wins,” coach John Fox said. “He does it with his feet. He does it with his arm. He’s young. He’s just going to get better.”

Harvin, a fellow former Florida star, said he was worried once Tebow got the ball late in the game.

“I was sure enough hoping we were going to get him, but I’ve been on his teams,” Harvin said, adding: “He’s a winner. He’s a leader. All of the things you hear about, you may think it’s too much, but that’s what he is.”

After serving as the backbone of Denver’s resurgence, putting Tebow in position for all of those rallies, the Broncos gave up 489 yards. Toby Gerhart gained 91 yards on 21 carries. But they picked off Ponder twice, recovered his fumble and applied enough pressure to equalize the game.

“It’s been fun, a fun ride,” Haggan said. “This team is close, believes, has a lot of character, but we’re not done.”

Demaryius Thomas caught four passes for 144 yards and both touchdowns for the Broncos, who have won four games with Tebow by either four or three points. Thomas was wide open twice, with the coverage by Minnesota’s depleted secondary breaking down often, but Tebow had to find him. Pushed out of the pocket with no one open, he ran left and delivered on on-target across-his-body throw to Thomas, who ran the rest of the way and dragged a couple of defenders into the end zone for a 41-yard score that cut the Minnesota lead to 22-21 late in the third.

“We put in a lot of work,” Thomas said. “It’s paid off. It’s about that time.”

During a dizzying display of back-and-forth touchdowns, with both Ponder and Tebow putting together their best games as pros. Ryan Longwell’s third field goal, with 3:06 left, made it 32-29 Vikings, teeing another one up for Tebow.

He threw a wobbler that still landed on target, when Thomas hauled in a 40-yard completion. Thomas couldn’t bring in the third-down pass at the goal line, but Prater tied the game with a 46-yarder before Ponder’s second glaring mistake.

Harvin’s second score, a 48-yard catch and run, was the first fourth-quarter touchdown given up by the Broncos in five games and made it 29-21 Minnesota. They averaged 15 points allowed over their previous four games.

But there went the Broncos again. Tebow hit Thomas for 42 yards, and Willis McGahee rumbled into the end zone from 24 yards out. Then Tebow took the snap on the 2-point conversion and rolled to his right and over the goal line to tie the game at 29.

Except for that play, he looked more like pocket passer on this afternoon, running only four times.

“It’s crazy. Just try to do whatever they ask of me,” Tebow said.

Notes: Haggan, a ninth-year veteran who started in place of injured LB Von Miller, came up with the first interception of his career. He also led the team with 12 tackles, three for losses. … Tebow’s NFL career high is 308 yards passing, against Houston on Dec. 26, 2010. … Allen tied an NFL record with his fourth career safety, stopping McGahee in the end zone on the Broncos’ first play. McGahee had 111 yards on 20 attempts. … All three replay reviews, including a TD pass to Kyle Rudolph, went in favor of the Vikings.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Gallery: Broncos Rally Over Vikings

Comments (15)
  1. Mark says:

    Ha Ha Ha, Ho Ho Ho, Hee Hee Hee

  2. MrBB says:

    God’s trying to tell us, we need a new stadium!

  3. PJO says:

    i’m thinking the 4 and 12 record i made in the pre-season was probably a bit optimistic.

  4. RFF says:

    Offense looked good, defense was not very good today. They need to both get on the same page. Then maybe they can win a freaking game. No new stadium on my dime.

  5. desert eagle .50 says:

    Professional sports are a colossal waste of time. Oh yeah, so are college sports.

  6. Foul Ball says:

    The Vikings play as though they want out of Minnesota, let’s put them out of their misery, and save all that money.

  7. No cash for the consummate beggar. says:

    Once again the Vikings beat themselves – another hard earned defeat.

    Zygi’s Viking commercial made me puke. It’s all “we” and “our” until we get to the “who pays for it” part … then it’s all “you.”

    There is no reason on God’s earth for anyone but Zygi and the NFL to pay for the new stadium they want. Minnesota and its residents should have no part of it. The fans, of course, can send in their donations if they want to contribute – but don’t ask the rest of us.

    After 51 years of no Super Bowl win, it’s time we let some other state pay for the privilege.

    1. jackactionhero says:


      So the Vikings themselves are what is cursed, eh? You are absurd.

      No owner in coordination with the league has EVER financed 100% of ANY stadium. Are you totally ignorant of reality, sir?

      1. Winnie says:

        Nobody EVER prevented polio … until Jonas Salk did it.

        Nobody EVER walked on the moon … until Neil Armstrong did it.

        So your reality is “It’s never been done before so it can’t be done.”

        I’m guessing your application for Mensa has been declined. That’s why Fleet Farm relegates you exclusively to the purple paint section of the paint department.

        Good for you, big boy. I’ll bet you’re a real hit with the women too … some of us love that cave man approach of yours (but most of us don’t).

        1. golfguy says:

          ….Actually, he prefers the “back 9”

      2. bobby says:

        I actually agree with jack on something…(has he!! frozen over?)

        The trouble with your thought process, Winnie, is that Zygi has us over a barrell. If MN won’t help fund a stadium, then L.A will.
        100% financing by an owner will NEVER happen, because there is always another city desperate for an NFL team.

        and for those that propose letting the Vikings leave, in 10 years we will bring another franchise here(or an expansion team), that will cost us MORE money than just working to find a solution now. Take a lesson from history, remember the North Stars?

    2. Bill says:

      I’d agree with you if the same was said for all of the extraneous uses of tax dollars. The state, county and local governments should not be allowed to collect tax revenues unless those revenues are spent for the good of all citizens. Stop using tax revenues to pay for illegal immigrants education, medical expenses and food.

  8. Special Teams Play says:

    was particularly abysmal.

  9. Scrooge says:

    anyone know why the Vikes wouldn’t have just let them score after the interception so at least they could get the ball back and have (albeit slim chance) to score and tie it up? I kept yelling at the TV to just let them score!!

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