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Published on 01/10/2012 at Tue Jan 10 14:05.
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The BT Staff gives out Game Balls following the Denver Broncos‘ 29-23 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Wild Card Weekend. The first-ever playoffs edition of BT Game Balls tastes about 100 times sweeter than every other edition combined. One last blissful look back, then we pull our attention to New England.

Demaryius ThomasDemaryius Thomas

Hell of a game to pick for a career breakout there Bay-Bay. We were somewhat devastated after seeing Eric Decker go down with a nasty knee injury early, it started to feel a bit gloomy in Mile High. Then the young man from Georgia Tech decided to show he was worth every bit of that 1st round draft pick. DT put on an absolute clinic as a deep threat. Crunch time, 1 play, quick slant, uber stiff arm, history. 204 yards, 1 touchdown on a very momentous day. Some other fun stats, Thomas broke the NFL record for average yards per reception in a playoff game with 51. He also accounted for 64.6% of Tebow’s passing yards. – Josh Temple

Robert AyersRobert Ayers

We’ve been waiting for Robert Ayers to breakout since his rookie season. He couldn’t have picked a better time to breakout! Ayers finished the night with three tackles and two sacks, helping the team bring Reothlisberger down five times. – Jon Heath

Eddie RoyalEddie Royal

Seriously where do we begin on the game balls? In a game where we were considered serious underdogs, we went to halftime with a 2-score lead and while we weren’t able to hold that lead until the end of the game, there were many dramatic stops and some fine football. The entire team performed. And for a change, it didn’t seem like the other team lost the game. The Broncos played hard and they played well and they won the game.

Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looses the ball against Elvis Dumervil #92 of the Denver Broncos during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looses the ball against Elvis Dumervil #92 of the Denver Broncos during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

It’d be easy to credit the win to Tim Tebow — after all, he takes all the criticism for the losses — and the statistics certainly support that. Demaryius Thomas totally deserves one for his 200 yard performance. What about Robert Ayers with his two sack game? But I’ve got to give one to Eddie Royal. He stepped up when Eric Decker went down and he caught several key balls, including one of the touchdowns. We’ve gotten used to Broncos receivers having a case of the dropsies, and that just didn’t happen today. And when Decker went down, Royal was the Next Man Up and he answered the call and contributed to an amazing victory. One that the team can go to locker room feeling like they deserved. – E. Halsey Miles

Elvis DumervilElvis Dumervil

One play only needs mentioning here. Steelers driving to end the game in the 4th qtr. They make a great conversion down the left sideline to come within a good play of field goal range to end it. Next opportunity Doom puts the nail in the coffin burying Roethlisberger and causing a fumble taking them way out of range. 2 Tackles, 1 Sack, 1 Forced Fumble on the day. – Josh Temple

Quinton CarterQuinton Carter

Filling in for the injured Brian Dawkins, Carter was all over the field making plays on Sunday and finished the game with five tackles and an interception. – Jon Heath

Chris HarrisChris Harris

If there was an Undrafted Rookie of the Year award, Chris Harris probably would have received it this season. Against the Steelers, he had another great game covering and tackling. He finished the night with four tackles and several passes defended. – Jon Heath

Mike McCoy

As already broken down in-depth here. What will he have in store for the Patriots next week? (You know New England is wondering the same thing). – Monty

Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos motions to a receiver during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Sports Authority Field against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Steelers in overtime 23-29. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos motions to a receiver during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Sports Authority Field against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Steelers in overtime 23-29. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Tim TebowTim Tebow

I’ve sung the praises of Tim Tebow this season, and I’ve sung the praises of Tim Tebow this week. But one aspect of his play Sunday that truly, truly deserves more praise-singing was the quarterback’s demeanor. Throughout the week, as the entire media world bombarded him with messages of impending doom (not only for this game, but for next season), Tebow was calm, cool, confident, and collected. It reflected in his play Sunday.

I was a vocal fan each of Kyle Orton, Jay Cutler, and Jake Plummer. None performed like Tim Tebow did when the pressure was on — whether that be the pressure of being in the playoffs or the pressure of another quarterback nipping at his heels. For all the inconsistencies Tebow has displayed, we don’t have to question whether he can rise to any occasion in the NFL — he just did. – Monty

Your Playoffs Edition BT Game Balls in the comments!

Broncos 29, Steelers 23 OT: Who gets your PLAYOFFS BT Game Ball?!

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  • Fan From Spain

    one big game ball to the whole team!

    lets hope TT can make throws like that against NE. If the Broncos don’t play sloppy football that will be a shoot out for sure.

    Go Broncos!

  • Bryan

    Agreed.  Game balls for the team!  As a whole unit, they came out and proved they wanted this game.  I think with this win, this team has built alittle bit of swagger amongst them.  All the ”can’t, won’t, ain’t no way”‘s this team endured all week (alot of it directed at Tebow) brushed it off and played great!   

     

  • Bryan

    Among the players/staff already mentioned in the OP, I give game balls to the offensive line.  ZERO hits on Tebow!  ZERO sacks!  Against 8-10 defenders in the box for alot of the game, and its the Pittsburgh defense, I think that is a truly great performace by the line.  HUGE! 

    I have to give a game ball to the fans as well.  That stadium rocked harder than I have seen in along time! 

    The Brian Dawkins “amp up” speech prior to a big game record continues! 

  • http://broncotalk.net Monty

    Great points!

  • Anonymous

    Dick LeBeau

  • http://www.broncotalk.net Josh Temple

    Thanks for the game ball Bryan.  
    ಥ_ಥ  I said I wasn’t going to cry…

  • http://www.broncotalk.net Josh Temple

    Debbie Downer

  • Thegoodfoot

    a shout out of love & respect to mccoy for a beautiful gameplan!

  • http://www.broncotalk.net Josh Temple

    Wow, I completely spaced that one while writing.  Here here, game ball for McCoy!

  • Bryan

    LOL! :thumbup:

  • http://broncotalk.net Monty

    He’s there, sans picture.

  • Anonymous

    lol

  • Anonymous

    Dude are you serious? What about Champ? He played a hell of a game. He should have been named a stud for Sundays performance.

  • Anonymous

    Chris Harris is on track to be a pro-bowl corner. Love his attitude and guy can FLAT-OUT wrap up on the tackle. He tackles like Champ USED to (sorry Champ, I’ve seen you miss more tackles this year than all your previous seasons in Denver combined). My favorite player this year by far (and I picked him as my sleeper star during the open practice at mile high this summer… really I did, ask my kids)

  • Anonymous

    Whatever.  I’m not naive and I don’t drink kool-aid. 

    I voted for Tebow in this poll, but if someone doesn’t think LeBeau’s stubborn refusal to move his safeties back after being repeatedly brutalized on the long ball didn’t play any part in the win, I don’t know what to tell them. 

  • http://www.broncotalk.net Josh Temple

    I’ve seen where many Steeler fans refer to LeBeau as a gunslinger at coordinator.  He’s going to call it his way and take chances.  If you beat him, you beat him.  The guy usually wins.

  • http://www.broncotalk.net Josh Temple

    I almost picked Champ except he dropped the int to seal the game and the refs nullified his great play on the caused fumble.  I went with Dumervil based off of his heroics to save the game.