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2011 Season Review: Playoffs

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- In the playoffs for the first time since the 2005 season, the Broncos didn't take their opportunity lightly.

Denver completed one of the most memorable wins in franchise history when Tim Tebow hit Demaryius Thomas for an 80-yard, game-winning touchdown on the first play of overtime to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card Round of the AFC Playoffs.

Though the run ended the following week in New England, 2011 was a season that won't soon be forgotten.



GAME RECAP: The Steelers got out to a 6-0 start in a back-and-forth game, but Tebow answered with a 51-yard completion to Thomas and two plays later found Eddie Royal for a 30-yard touchdown to give Denver its first lead.

Denver eventually led 20-6 before Pittsburgh trimmed the lead to 20-13 with a Mike Wallace touchdown. A 35-yard Matt Prater field goal pushed the Denver lead back to 10, but Pittsburgh scored the final 10 points of regulation, thanks in part to a Willis McGahee fumble.

The game went to overtime, the Broncos won the coin toss and immediately took advantage. Tebow hit Thomas for the winning touchdown on the first play of the extra period, and Denver moved on to the Divisional Round.

TURNING POINT: On the first play of overtime, Tebow dropped back after faking a handoff to McGahee and fired a pass to Thomas for the 80-yard game-winner.

KEY STATISTIC:Thomas' 204 receiving yards set a franchise postseason record. He set the record on just four catches, good for an average of 51 yards per catch, the second-highest total in a single game in NFL history (minimum four receptions).

QUOTABLE: "This is why you do it. It's moments like tonight. ... Whenever you put all the work that we put into these things, these moments are why."

-Head Coach John Fox



GAME RECAP: Thanks to a touchdown on its opening drive and another touchdown following a Tebow fumble, the New England Patriots jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. But the Broncos weren't out of it yet, as Quinton Carter intercepted Tom Brady and returned it to the 24-yard line on the following drive.

The offense capitalized, as Willis McGahee sprinted into the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown to make it a one-possession game.

However, the Broncos didn't score again until Matt Prater's 41-yard field goal with 2:14 remaining in the third quarter. In between, the Patriots put up 28 unanswered points.

The Denver defense forced a fumble in the third quarter as the club continued to battle, but the Patriots never relented en route to the 45-10 win, ending Denver's season.

TURNING POINT: After trimming the New England lead to 14-7, the Denver offense couldn't get anything going as the Patriots proceeded to score 28 unanswered points and put the game away.

KEY STATISTIC: Tom Brady tied an NFL postseason record with six passing touchdowns and his tight end, Rob Gronkowski, tied an NFL postseason record with three receiving touchdowns.

QUOTABLE: "We came in this year, nobody gave us a chance. They were saying we were going to win two games, three games. We came out and were 8-8 and won the first round of the playoffs. I feel like we can build on this."

*-Demaryius Thomas *

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