BRONCOS 29, STEELERS 23
DENVER — Tim Tebow connected with Demaryius Thomas on an electrifying 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime and the Broncos defeated the stunned Steelers in the AFC wild-card game on Sunday.
Wild doesn’t begin to describe it. The play took 11 seconds and was the quickest ending to an overtime in NFL history.
Thomas hauled in a high play-action pass at the Denver 38, stiff-armed Ike Taylor and then outraced Ryan Mundy to the end zone. Tebow, who looked as startled as everyone else, and knelt on one knee in an end zone — a gesture known as Tebowing. Then he pounded a fist in triumph and took a victory lap.
Behind Tebow’s 316 yards passing, the Broncos (9-8) are heading to New England for a second-round game against the top-seeded Patriots on Saturday night.
The Steelers (12-5) lost despite Ben Roethlisberger rallying injury-depleted Pittsburgh from a two-touchdown halftime deficit with 10 points in the final 10 minutes.
Pittsburgh called tails for the overtime coin toss, and it came up heads. Tebow, who engineered five fourth-quarter comebacks and three OT wins in the regular season, wasted no time in finding Thomas to end the game.
GIANTS 24, FALCONS 2
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes and New York ran all over Atlanta in an NFC wild-card game.
Manning, having his best pro season, connected with Hakeem Nicks for a 72-yard score and Mario Manningham on a 27-yarder as the Giants (10-7) pulled away from the inept Falcons (10-7) in the second half.
He also threw a 4-yard TD pass to Nicks in the first half, which came after the quarterback scrambled 14 yards to spark the 85-yard drive.
While Manning came through with touchdown passes, the tempo was set by New York’s defense, which never allowed Atlanta to get going, and the league’s lowest-ranked rushing game, which ran for a season-high 172 yards. Brandon Jacobs led the way with 92 yards on 14 carries.
The Giants travel to Green Bay next Sunday to play the defending Super Bowl champion Packers (15-1), who beat them 38-35 in December.