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Broncos at Vikings: Notebook

Posted Dec 4, 2011

Goodman comes up clutch; Broncos move atop the AFC West; Tebow helps lead another comeback.


MINNEAPOLIS -- Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder threw at cornerback Andre’ Goodman throughout the game, as will happen given the choice between All-Pro cornerback Champ Bailey and just about anybody else.

Bailey said he wasn’t surprised that his counterpart in the secondary came through with an interception to set up Matt Prater’s game-winning field goal.

“It’s only a matter of time,” Bailey said after the game. “If you keep throwing at somebody as good as he is, he’s going to make you pay. That’s what he’s been doing.”

Goodman has gotten used to seeing plenty of passes thrown his way due to having a future Hall of Famer lined up on the opposite side of the field.

“I don’t mind,” Goodman said. “At the end of the day at my position, it happens. It won’t be the last time.”

Goodman got the last laugh as the game wound down, plucking a Christian Ponder pass out of the air and returning it 20 yards to the Vikings 15-yard line with 1:33 remaining in the game.

“It was just a bad pass by the quarterback,” Goodman said. “I was in the right place at the right time, but it was a bad pass by the quarterback. I’m pretty sure it was me wishing for that pass.”

The interception stopped the Vikings from putting together a potential game-winning drive, and set the Broncos up inside the Vikings red zone.

After Denver ran the clock down to two seconds, Prater stepped on to deliver his third game-winning field goal in overtime or as time expired of the season.

LEADING THE AFC WEST

Denver’s fifth consecutive win, coupled with Oakland’s loss at Miami means that the two teams are currently tied atop the AFC West with 7-5 records.

With four games left to play in the season, Broncos players know that it is too early to celebrate moving into first place.

“That’s nice, but they’re not going to remember what you did in November,” Quarterback Tim Tebow said. “They’re going to remember what you did in December. That’s a good way for us to start, but we have to find a way to finish strong. Coach Fox always says it, you have to start strong but finish stronger. That’s our goal as a team.”

While it’s nice to see Denver atop the standings heading into Week 14, Bailey knows that the team still has work to do.

“One thing we’ve got to understand is we’ve got to continue to improve,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what happens with the division, we’ve got to get better, because (otherwise) we won’t go anywhere.”

Veteran defensive end Elvis Dumervil echoed Bailey’s sentiments about finishing the year strong.

“It’s hard to get to that spot and it’s even harder to remain there,” Dumervil added. “We have to continue working. We have four more games left and three at our house, so we have to take care of business.”

TEBOW TIME

The Broncos came through with another late comeback victory, something that has turned into the M.O. of the club with Tebow under center this season.

Sunday marked the fifth consecutive game that the Broncos entered the fourth quarter within three points of the lead. That ties for the second longest streak in NFL history.

Denver delivered another win that fit the mold, although the players wouldn’t mind sealing a win before the closing seconds of the game.

“I don’t know if we’re thriving on it,” Tebow said. “We would’ve liked to be ahead earlier. I think it’s something special when you have a team that when adversity hits and you’re not doing good, most teams pull apart, they’re not on the same page, but our team grows closer together and we come together.”

Having been there and come out with victories before helps calm the team when the game gets into crunch time.

“I think, just because we’ve been through those situations, it makes us more comfortable in how to handle it,” Tebow said after the game. “But overall, we count on the guy next to us and we trust the guy next to us and we believe until the very end that we’re going to lay it on the line every single play. When that’s your mentality and you have the perseverance and you believe the guy next to you is going to do your job, then until the clock hits zero, and maybe even after it, we’re going to keep believing.”

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