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Thomas Shines in Overtime Victory

Submitted by Sports on January 9, 2012 – 9:31 amNo Comment

DENVER — Coming out of the huddle to begin overtime, the Denver Broncos had 24 first downs in the game. On 23 of those plays, they ran the ball.

Knowing this, the Pittsburgh Steelers loaded the box and brought both safeties up, just like the Broncos thought they would. When receiverDemaryius Thomas saw the safety creep up before the snap, he knew all he had to do was beat the cornerback and the middle of the field would be wide open.

So when quarterback Tim Tebow took the snap from the Broncos own 20-yard line, he put the ball into running back Willis McGahee‘s gut, giving the Broncos 24 runs on 25 first downs.

Or so the Steelers thought.

“I had a good fake and got the backers to run up to the line,” McGahee said. “And I was just hoping nobody blitzed.”

The play-action froze the defense and gave Tebow time as he took the ball out and waited for Thomas to get open. Just as he had been doing all game, Thomas beat the cornerback and Tebow delivered a pass to him in stride. After the second-year receiver made the catch, he stiff-armed cornerback Ike Taylor and raced 80 yards down the sideline for the game-winning touchdown and the longest scoring play in NFL overtime playoff history.

“It is amazing because I haven’t played explosive like I did in college in a long time,” Thomas said. “To come out and make plays tonight, and win a playoff game, is just amazing.”

Thomas’ game-winning catch-and-run capped off a record-setting night for the former Georgia Tech star. His 204 receiving yards are a franchise postseason record and seventh-most in a single game in NFL postseason history.

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