We’re starting a series of 24 posts covering the greatest Denver Broncos games of the 2010s and we’re doing this chronologically. While most of our games will involve one Peyton Manning, there will be a good chunk of Tim Tebow early on.
In fact, the earliest game to make the final 24 cut involves his first comeback win and the teams first win of the post-Josh McDaniels era.
Let’s set the stage for this game. The Broncos were coming off a fourth quarter collapse the week before to the Oakland Raiders. The score was tied 20-20 late in the third, but the Raiders ripped off 19 points to the Broncos 3 to run away with it 39-23. Not quite as bad as the 59-14 home defeat Denver suffered to their hated rival earlier in the season, but a loss is a loss.
They came home to the Houston Texans in Week 16 and promptly found no offense of note. Down 17-0 at halftime, the Broncos began to mount a second half comeback. Still down 23-10 to start the fourth quarter, the legend of Tim Tebow would begin.
Watch NFL Gamepass: Texans at Broncos, 11/14/2010
The first drive should have ended after Tebow was sacked, but a phantom defensive holding call on the Texans gave the Broncos an automatic first down at midfield. That set the Broncos off on their way as three plays later on third and nine Tebow found Brandon Llyod for an 18 yard gain.
And in true Tebow fashion, he’d have the Broncos in another third and long fashion three plays later. Needing 14 yards for a first down, Tebow played the perfect screen fake one side and went the other way to Correll Buckhalter for a big play and a big touchdown to cut the lead to 23-17.
After a big stop by the Broncos defense, Tebow and the offense would get the ball back halfway through the fourth quarter and would run and pass his ways down the field on a 12-play, 72 yard drive that would be capped with second and goal quarterback keeper for the go-ahead score. The touchdown would come on play after then-rookie Kareem Jackson would break up a throw in the end zone to Eddie Royal.
Tebow famously called out to his coaches that no one but him gets the ball on this play. The Texans had a chance to win it late, but a pass to Owen Daniels bounced off the helmet of Brian Dawkins and into the arms of Syd’Quan Thompson for the game-sealing interception.
This game makes the list because it was the first game where Broncos Country felt the wounds made during the Josh McDaniels era would heal and Tim Tebow Time the bandage we all needed.