Posted January 02, 2012 on AP on Fox
Denver-broncos-minnesota
Tim Tebow had plenty more gaffes - and one last laugh. Despite a second straight dismal performance and two more turnovers by Tebow, the Broncos were celebrating a trip to the playoffs Sunday after losing 7-3 to Kyle Orton and the Kansas City Chiefs. Their six-year playoff drought is history. Even though Tebow completed just 6 of 22 passes for 60 yards, killed a promising drive with a red zone fumble and capped an awful afternoon with an interception in the waning seconds, he's the one preparing for the playoffs while Orton regroups from a trying season and gets ready for free agency. Tebow couldn't beat the guy he couldn't beat out in training camp. ''It's obviously a little bittersweet right now,'' Tebow said. ''We would have loved to have won that game to have a little momentum going into the playoffs. But I think it's still a special thing what we accomplished, to come back and win the AFC West is very special.'' Orton outperformed Tebow every time they were on the football field together, from training camp through Sunday's season finale. In between, however, Orton caved under the weight of Tebowmania and was benched by the Broncos before being released and grabbed off waivers by the Chiefs. Orton had laid low all week but he finally admitted after the game that this game had special meaning to him, even though it was for pride and payback and not the playoffs. ''I can't hide that,'' he said. ''But I congratulate those guys. They're in. I congratulate them and I look forward to next year.'' The Broncos (8-8) will face the Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) Sunday at Mile High, their first home playoff game since Ben Roethlisberger beat Jake Plummer in the AFC title game following the 2005 season. ''We go out there and perform like we did the past three weeks, we don't stand a chance,'' Champ Bailey said. ''We've got to get better.'' In a hurry. Tebow has turned the ball over seven times in Denver's three-game losing streak and the Broncos haven't managed a single takeaway since they beat Chicago in overtime on Dec. 11 for their fourth straight fourth-quarter comeback. ''We'll, we're AFC West champs,'' Broncos coach John Fox retorted. ''It doesn't matter how you do it. Once you get into the dance, they can't kick you out.'' But you can get bounced pretty quickly, something the Broncos know is a strong possibility if they don't get their act together. ''Everything is mediocre,'' Bailey said. ''We've got to get better. If we want to make any kind of fuss in the playoffs, we've got to get better.'' The Broncos begrudgingly congratulated Orton, then trudged off to the locker room, where they watched the San Diego Chargers finish off the Oakland Raiders 38-26. The Broncos, Raiders and Chargers all finished 8-8, but Denver won the AFC West with a better record against common opponents. The Chiefs finished 7-9 and avoided reaching double digits in losses for a fourth time in five years. Orton, who also handed Green Bay its only loss, went 2-1 in Kansas City. His steady play likely raised his stock as he prepares to enter free agency. And he might have secured interim coach Romeo Crennel's future. Best of all, he beat the team that benched him after the Broncos stumbled to a 1-4 start, banishing him to third string behind Brady Quinn to run the scout team against Denver's No. 1 defense. Those notes came in handy Sunday. The Broncos saved $2.6 million by releasing Orton just before Thanksgiving, but he nearly made them pay an even heftier price for that decision, completing 15 of 29 passes for 180 yards against his former team and connecting with Dwayne Bowe six times for 93 yards before losing him for the second half with a suspected concussion. ''Dwayne was on fire in the first half, and then to lose him for the rest of the game, that really hurt our offense,'' Orton said. ''I have the utmost respect for Champ Bailey, but Dwayne had him turning around in circles a couple times out there.'' The Broncos lost two offensive starters in the first half when right guard Chris Kuper, the stalwart on an otherwise young line, broke his left leg and fullback Spencer Larsen hurt a knee. ''That was a big blow,'' offensive tackle Ryan Clady said. ''But we really rallied. I'm the first to tell you that I nearly broke down because of that. It was scary. He's a good friend of mine and a leader on the offensive line. But we were able to rally and rush the ball and protect pretty well. We've got to move on and hope he recovers fast.'' Kuper's injury made Orton's day bittersweet, too. ''Chris Kuper is a very good friend of mine and to see what happened to him really put a damper on things,'' Orton said. ''He's a great teammate, a great leader on that team and I hope he's able to get back as soon as possible.'' Neither QB had a great day. The game's only touchdown came on Dexter McCluster's 21-yard scamper in the first quarter, so this game was as much about the Punting Colquitt brothers, Dustin and Britton, as it was about Orton vs. Tebow. The Broncos' only score came on Matt Prater's 38-yarder in the third quarter, which followed Javier Arenas' muffed punt at his own 20. Tebow had one last shot at another miracle comeback when the Broncos got the ball at their 16 with just under a minute left. Because Fox had declined to go for a 57-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the first half - he was afraid a miss would set up the Chiefs for a double-digit halftime lead - the Broncos had to go 84 yards instead of just needing to get into range for another game-winner by Prater. Tebow, who had completed four passes all afternoon with the Broncos running 47 times for 216 yards, including 145 by Willis McGahee, suddenly had to chuck it. And he was intercepted by cornerback Brandon Carr with 8 seconds left. Had Denver not backed into the playoffs, boss John Elway's dangerous decision to release Orton at midseason would have gone down as one of the biggest blunders in Broncos history. Instead, it was a footnote in the Broncos' return to the postseason parade just one season after a franchise-worst 4-12 debacle. ''Nobody said how you had to get in,'' Broncos linebacker Mario Haggan said. ''It's what you do with the opportunity once you get there.'' Notes: The Broncos have lost all nine times they've met the Chiefs and their predecessors, the Dallas Texans, in the regular-season finale. ... Kuper's replacement, Russ Hochstein, left the game in the fourth quarter with an undisclosed injury and Chris Clark replaced him. --- Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

A “Mean” Tim Tebow Taylor Swift Song Parody

Hopefully you are not tired of Tim Tebow song parodies yet because we got another hilarious one for you. Check out this music video called “Tebow 3:15″ that The Carson Brothers made combining by everyone’s favorite homely looking country star, Taylor Swift, with the NFL jesus. Timmy really seems to bring the best out of everybody, even the folks that poke fun at him. The...

Tim Tebow Was Fined by Kyle Orton, Broncos Quarterbacks for Pro-Tebow Billboard in Denver

Is there still time to jam another Tim Tebow story down your throats before 2011 ends? OK, good. That uncomfortable silence on Sunday will be Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow and Chiefs quarterback Kyle Orton not discussing that little matter from earlier this season, for which Tebow reportedly still owes Orton money. Tebow, in one of those weird kangaroo-court rulings that only seem...

Broncos quarterbacks fined Tebow over billboard incident

By all accounts, Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow behaves like a perfect gentleman, and the ideal teammate.  But before he became the starting quarterback in Denver, his reaction — or, more accurately, his lack thereof — to the placement of a billboard lobbying for him to become the starting quarterback prompted a definite response from the…

Chiefs hold onto lead, win in Denver

DENVER (AP) -- Tim Tebow fell short in his latest comeback bid, yet his Denver Broncos are still going to the playoffs. Former Bronco Kyle Orton got his revenge in leading the Kansas City Chiefs to a 7-3 win over Denver on Sunday, but it's the Broncos who clinched the AFC West and is headed to the postseason. After congratulating their former starting quarterback, the Broncos...

Tim Tebow talk already underway for Steelers

CLEVELAND -- Someone asked Ben Roethlisberger Sunday night about the challenge of facing the Denver Broncos...

Chiefs' defense exacts a measure of revenge on Tim Tebow

After being one of Tim Tebow's victims when the Broncos played in Kansas City two months ago, the Chiefs defense was determined things would turn out differently this time. "It was a pride issue,'' safety Kendrick Lewis said. That being the case, the defense got its pride back in beating the Broncos 7-3.

Turnovers Will Be the Key for Steelers Against Broncos

If the Steelers need to do one thing against the Denver Broncos on Sunday it is make them turn the ball over.  The Broncos are a ball control offense.  They run, run and run some more.  They try and take you out of the game by keeping the ball away from you.  The Steelers are going to need to get to the ball and get it loose.  Whether it is a fumble or an interception that...

Orton better than Tebow in first half

Three observations from the first half of today's game between the Chiefs and Broncos in Denver. The Chiefs lead 7-0. Chiefs quarterback Kyle Orton is 10 of 18 for 128 yards s getting the better of his duel with Tim Tebow.

Steelers Beat Browns to become the #5 Seed in the Playoffs and take a Trip to Denver

The Steelers beat the Cleveland Browns tonight to take their record to 12-4 for the season.  They will be the number 5 seed in the playoffs as the Ravens beat the Bengals to secure the number 2 seed and the bye.  The Steelers are heading to Denver to take on the Broncos and Tim Tebow. It was a slow rough game for the team.  They got out of Cleveland with a victory but not without...

Road Map To Super Bowl XLVI: Denver Broncos

Bronco fans remember when their beloved team went to the Super Bowl all the time with John Elway at the helm, and little else.  A few years later, add Terrell Davis, Shannon Sharpe, and arguably the best offensive line in history, and you have two consecutive Super Bowl titles. Those days are long gone, a new era of greatness merely a little tiny wish for the unforeseeable...

Broncos lose, still win AFC West

Former Bronco Kyle Orton got his revenge in leading the Kansas City Chiefs to a 7-3 win over Denver on Sunday, but it's the Broncos who clinched the AFC West and is headed to the postseason.
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.