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Published on 12/05/2011 at Mon Dec 05 17:37.
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The Denver Broncos won their fifth straight game and tied the Oakland Raiders for the AFC West lead with their 35-32 win in Minnesota Sunday. It was another thrilling come-from-behind victory for Tim Tebow and company. BTer’s, let’s dish out game balls.

Mario Haggan

Mario Haggan

Replacing the injured Von Miller, Haggan did a great job filling a void on Denver’s defense. He didn’t provide a pass rush like only Miller can, but Haggan finished the day with 12 tackles (which was a team high) and recorded a 16-yard interception return for a touchdown giving the Broncos an early 7-3 lead. My game ball this week goes to Haggan. – Jon Heath

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow

The Vikings, who may well be a better team than their record indicates, set out to make Tebow win the game with his arm. In the first half of the game, it really looked like this was a defensive strategy that was going to work. Then, after halftime, something funny happened. The offense went back to a mostly normal, pro-style offense. And Tim Tebow won the game with his arm. 10 of 15 for 202 yards and two touchdowns and a 149.3 passer rating, and a ton of it…from the pocket?! To be fair, apparently the Vikings didn’t think they had to cover Demaryius Thomas and he got not just open but really wide open at least four times. But then again, Tim Tebow is supposed to be uncomfortable and inaccurate when throwing inside the pocket. He only rushed 4 times for 13 yards. On a day where it looked like a defense had finally figured out how to contain the option read and zone read thing, Tebow took advantage of a weak secondary that wasn’t getting any help because the Vikings kept 8 in the box all night and contained the perimeter. Plus, another miracle final drive to get down the field and give Matt Prater a chip shot to seal the game. – E. Halsey Miles

Willis McGahee

Willis McGahee

The Vikings sold out to keep Tim Tebow from running, but it didn’t work so well on McGahee. He had his 6th 100 yard game of the season, running for 111 yards on 20 attempts. McGahee wasn’t terribly successful running in the first half, but when the second half opened he was like a ghost, slipping through miniscule holes in the defensive line for 8 over and over again, wearing down that Minnesota defense which was selling out to contain the edges and leaving just enough of a hole in the middle that McGahee was able to take advantage. With a 5.6 average and a long of 24, games with numbers like that from McGahee are always going to be competitive. It’s been years since we’ve seen a Denver Broncos running game look this good. – E. Halsey Miles

Andre Goodman

Andre Goodman

Yes, the 33 year old got burned for a couple of maddening first downs. That being said, the measure of a player should not be his mistakes alone, but how he responds to these transgressions. It is safe to say that Goodman responded very well. I will be the first one to admit that I was calling for his head after Devin Aromashodu kept beating him out. However, Goodman would refuse to make those mistakes define him. When the game is on the line, Andre Goodman makes the plays that really matter. – Mr. East

Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas

Denver Broncos' Demaryius Thomas (88) is congratulated by teammate Eric Decker (87) after catching a touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Demaryius Thomas

DeMaryius Thomas

We have all been waiting on a game like this from Thomas for awhile and if he can continue to grow, it will only help Tebow’s development as a passer. His 144 yard 2 TD performance could be the catalyst Thomas needs to get his career going if he can remain healthy. If Thomas emerges the way Eric Decker has, the Broncos may have their next versions of Eddie McCaffrey and Rod Smith. Multiple reliable receiving threats would take some pressure off the run game and allow Mike McCoy to be even more creative. That would be bad news for the rest of the AFC West. – Kris Burke

Britton Colquitt

Special Teams

Wow, Britton Colquitt: 6 punts for an average of 51.2 and a net of 48.8 against one of the best special teams in the league. The only mark against special teams is the Matt Willis whiff where he didn’t realize the ball was coming down so far over and he was trying to block for Royal and instead blocked INTO Royal and took him out of the game. But the team kept the ball there, and punt after punt, the team made the tackles. I’m a fan used to seeing Broncos special teams cruise down the field, and then the first two guys miss while the returner finds a crease, and this years team is just not doing that. It’s amazing. Can we keep this special team, year in and year out? Because this kind of play on this unit gives opponent’s offenses long fields and our offense short fields, and that puts the odds much more in our favor. – E. Halsey Miles

Matt Prater

Matt Prater

Making game-tying and game-winning field goals week after week isn’t easy from any distance (just ask Dan Bailey). But Matt Prater has answered the call that Tim Tebow, Mike McCoy, Dennis Allen, and John Fox have conveyed. “We’re going to play run-heavy, mistake-free Fox Ball. The games are going to be close, and we need you to be ready.” Prater has had a few misses this season, but like every Bronco this season, he’s been money when it counts. – Monty

Honorable mention: Defense

Denver Rushes + Denver pass attempts combined = 47, the number of pass attempts taken by Christian Ponder. Talk about an uneven control of the game, because the Vikings had an additional 30 rushes and a single pass attempt by Webb in a wildcat that took us by surprise. 31 more offensive plays than the Broncos, and we still won the game. Kudos on our defense for managing to play the game for 78 snaps. They were definitely wearing down at the end there, but they were still playing and still trying, and Andre Goodman, who was a bit of a goat for getting beat by Aromashadu all night, had an “I’ll take it all back” moment with his game-sealing interception. – E. Halsey Miles

Who gets your game ball folks? Take the poll and dish it out in the comments.

Broncos 35, Vikings 32 - GAME BALL

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  • Anonymous

    No love for the O-Line?  They played well IMO

  • Cos

    what happen to the broncos safty raheim more?I have not seen him on the field latly.

  • flbronc

    he was benched for carter

  • http://ehalseymiles.com E. Halsey Miles

    They did, absolutely. There’s just only so many game balls to spread around and we pick the things that really stand out to us. For me, special teams really stood out, and I really wanted to give a kudos to the defense. They gave up more points and yards than we’re accustomed to, but the time of possession was *massively* in favor of Minnesota.

  • crazykid

    i wondered the same thing when they put McCarthy in instead of him.  I wonder if that concussion against Oakland was worse than reported…

  • virginiabronco

    I don’t know if I can hold my nose and pick Goodman.  East made a good “defense” arguement but all in all I think the game ball has to go to the offense on this game.  Either Tebow OR McGahee.  Of course you know I have to lean toward Tebow. Honorable mention to Colquitt.  He’s been money all season. D Thomas caught all the easy passes but needs to hang on to those passes on the more closely guarded plays before I can vote for him.  Shouldn’t a wide open TE or WR at the pro level be expected to catch the ball everytime?
    Prater still scares me anytime he is inside of 50 yards.
    Great effort from Haggan!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jacksonbaer Jackson Baer

    Tebow stinks. I mean, he’s only won 5 in a row (first time since Elway played in Denver). The guy is a winner, period. I’m a Falcons fan and would take Tebow as our QB in a second.   http://www.whatthehellbook.com/the-book/

  • http://twitter.com/benekcj Christopher J. Benek

    Tim Tebow is the real deal.  So why all of the Skepticism?  Here is why: http://tinyurl.com/7zadl56

  • Anonymous

    I love that this team makes it the game balls decision difficult.

    The Broncos play as a solid team and this is something we haven’t seen in years.

  • Anonymous

    I also think Dawkins should be in the honorable mention category because his forced fumble was huge, and because he huddled the defense together and rallied the troops in the final minutes which then led to Goodmans pick

  • Nisse

    do i have to log in to report this comment? its clearly advertisment.

  • Anonymous

    Darn skippy.

  • Bob

    Who in his F’ing right mind drafted the bible salesman to be the quarterback? This is the saddest example of wannabe quarterback in the NFL. “Teabag” is a joke and a sad one…maybe he should stick to preaching religion, since that’s the only think the “Teabag” is good for. What a maroon. 

  • 12508

    Josh new it all along.

  • Anonymous

    Who gets my game ball?

    Mario Haggan: He played really well in place of Miller, even though it caused us to have to rely on the blitz to put heat on the QB. His 1st half INT for TD was awesome and much needed in this win. Would Miller have made that INT? I’m not sure. The reason why I say that is because Miller probably would have been crushing Ponder into the dirt, instead of being in position to make a pick. Man, our D sure looks different without Miller, but if we need to have a guy play LB in a pinch, there isn’t much better than Haggan.

    Tim Tebow: Right when everyone thinks they have him figured out, he makes everyone look as silly as a kindergartener trying to solve an algebra problem. Can he keep running? Can he throw? Can he win a shootout? These have all been emphatic “NOs” for the “experts”, yet here we are, 6-1 with Tebow as QB. Yes, he can run without getting hurt. Yes he can pass accurately, and YES, he can win a shootout. Is he a “pro style” QB? YES. Know how I can say that? We ran 6 optoin plays sunday…. 6, not 36. Which means that for the vast majority of the game, we ran a pro offense, with only 6 unorthodox plays to keep the D honest. That my friends, is a recipe for long term success!

    DeMaryius Thomas: The sleeping giant has woken up!!! At least for 1 game anyways. We got a glimpse of the immense talent that he is. Was it poor coverage that left him wide open time and time again? Perhaps. Was it pure physical talent that got him wide open? Probably. Was he finally healthy enough to see the field? Absolutely! We need Thomas to turn into a true #1 receiver and help take the pressure off of Decker. Everyone loves Decker, yet he didn’t catch many balls. Why is that? He was against the same “horrible secondary” that Thomas was against, so why didn’t he catch many passes? It’s because he’s one of the best #2 WRs in the league, NOT a #1 WR. Thomas killing the secondary shows what a true #1 WR can do. If Decker was a true #1, he would have been the one catching all the passes and scoring all the points. Instead, it was D-Train. We need more of this in order to keep winning. The more consistent he gets, the further into the playoffs we go!

    Special Teams: I can’t give out game balls without giving one to these guys. Punts, kicks, coverage, returns, week after week, these guys are getting it done. As with any team, there are lapses, but overall, our special teams haven’t looked this good since the mid to late 90′s. Good job guys. You have been consistent week after week, and that will only benefit us on our run to a championship!

    Honorable Mentions:
    Offensive Line: They were leaky sometimes, and had some very costly penalties *cough*Clady*cough*, but they paved the way for 150 rushing yards, and kept Tebow from absorbing huge hits while in the pocket. They did a pretty good job today, but have to clean up those stupid penalties before they can get a game ball.

    Coaching Staff: You made the adjustments needed to get us back in this game. I don’t like how you blitzed on every play, but hey, the end result shows a W, so I can’t complain too much. Miller being back will keep us from having to blitz, and our offense made stellar adjustments to enable us to win this shootout.

    Close But No Cigar:
    Defense: Sorry, but giving up almost 500 yards and 32 points to Christian freaking Ponder and an offense without Adrian Peterson is just piss poor pathetic. They looked every bit as bad in this game that they did the last 6 years when we ranked in the low 30′s. The only reason you are even close to being an Honorable Mention for a game ball is because of the Pick Six and the game sealing INT. If it weren’t for those 2 plays, you guys would show up as goats (the bad kind) of the week. Having Miller back will help because you won’t have to blitz every down, but still…. Christian freaking Ponder?!?! Wake up gentlemen, or we won’t make much noise in January!

  • http://www.sellsnapbackhats.com/nfl-snapback-hats-c-1678.html NFL Hats

    he number of pass attempts taken by Christian Ponder.