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(Sunday, December 11th)
Final Score: Denver 13, Chicago 10 (OT)
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Matt Prater kicked two field goals over 50 yards, the last one a 51-yarder with 8:34 left in overtime to send the Denver Broncos over Chicago, 13-10.
Tim Tebow continued his magic run for the Broncos (8-5), who won their sixth straight game.
Despite another slow start, Tebow improved to 7-1 on the season and helped Denver -- which also got help from a Green Bay rout of Oakland -- surge into first place in the AFC West. He led the charge from a 10-0 fourth quarter deficit, ending with 236 yards and one touchdown on 21-of-40 passing while adding 49 rushing yards.
"I think we're re-writing the book under 'Keep Fighting,' because these guys never give up, they remain positive," said Broncos head coach John Fox. "It's not about who didn't show up for the first three quarters and who did in the fourth. We just executed better the longer the game went on."
Demaryius Thomas posted seven receptions for 78 yards and a score to offset a 34-yard performance from featured back Willis McGahee.
Caleb Hanie threw for 115 yards on 12-of-19 passing for the Bears (7-6), who have dropped three in a row.
Marion Barber totaled 108 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries, but made a tactical error late in regulation which led to Prater's game-tying field goal and also coughed up the ball on the first series of OT, leading to Prater's winning kick.
Tebow found Thomas in the back-right corner of the end zone for a 10-yard score and 10-7 game with 2:08 remaining.
The onside kick hit the ground in the right place, but after several bounces found the hands of Chicago's Nick Roach, who ran to the sidelines at the 49.
Barber gained five yards on first down, but inexplicably ran out of bounds. He was then stopped on 3rd-and-5 from the Broncos' 46 and after a punt, Denver took over at its own 20 with 56 seconds showing.
Later in that series, Tebow's rush to the line of scrimmage on 3rd-and-10 at the Bears' 41 with eight seconds left set up a successful 59-yard attempt by Prater -- who launched the kick with plenty of room to spare.
Chicago won the overtime coin toss and elected to receive. Barber was on his way to a big gain up the middle on 3rd-and-7 from the Broncos' 38, but Wesley Woodyard stripped the ball and Elvis Dumervil recovered at the 34.
Tebow hit Thomas for 16 yards into Bears territory on 2nd-and-12 from the 44, but was only able to advance a single yard on a rush at 3rd-and-4 from the Chicago 34.
Prater was called upon again, this time from 51 yards out along the left hashmark and calmly split the uprights to cap another wild finish.
"All losses hurt in some way, but some of them feel like they hurt a little bit more," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. "This one feels like it hurts a little bit more. We felt like we needed to win out (for playoff position)."
A scoreless opening quarter gave way to a second period whose lone highlight was Prater's 28-yard field-goal attempt which was blocked by Julius Peppers. The half ended without a scoring play.
The Bears finally snapped the scoreless streak on their first journey into the red zone as Barber posted a nine-yard TD run with 5:19 left in the third quarter.
On the first play of the fourth, Robbie Gould was true from 57 yards out for a 10-0 game.
Denver reached the Bears' 38 two possessions later, but Tebow held onto the ball too long on a 2nd-and-12. He fumbled on the sack by Craig Steltz, and Israel Idonije recovered at the 45-yard line.
Denver snapped a two-game slide against Chicago, and posted its first win over the Bears since a 17-12 decision on November 10, 1996...This marked the eighth time in Broncos history that the club has played in a scoreless first half, and the first time since 1999...Chicago only converted 2-of-15 third downs and totaled just 245 yards; and though Denver racked up 345 yards, it was only successful on 5-of-17 third down attempts.
12/11 21:43:19 ET
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