NFL Game Summary - Denver at Buffalo
(Saturday, December 24th)
Final Score: Buffalo 40, Denver 14
Orchard Park, NY (Sports Network) - The Bills picked off Tim Tebow four times, two of which were returned for touchdowns on consecutive plays in the fourth quarter, as Buffalo rolled over the playoff-hopeful Broncos, 40-14.
The Broncos' second straight loss dropped them into a tie with Oakland atop the AFC West with 8-7 records. The Raiders close out the regular season next week with a home game against San Diego, which had a chance to make it a three-way tie atop the division but lost to the Lions on Saturday.
The Broncos finish their slate at home against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Jairus Byrd and Spencer Johnson each took back interceptions for touchdowns, and Leodis McKelvin returned a punt 80 yards for a score to help the Bills (6-9) end a seven-game losing streak in emphatic fashion.
C.J. Spiller ran for a career-high 111 yards and a TD, while Ryan Fitzpatrick tossed for 196 yards on 15-of-27 attempts in the victory.
The Bills played mistake-free and forced Tebow into throwing twice as many interceptions (four) as he had since taking over under center in Week 7.
When asked if it was the worst game of his career, Tebow replied, "It's probably safe to say that. ...It's one loss. We have to come back and have a great game against Kansas City."
Tebow completed 13-of-30 passes for 185 yards, ran for a touchdown and threw for another, but his woes started in the final minute of the third when he overthrew Demaryius Thomas.
Justin Rogers's interception led to Dave Rayner's 29-yard field goal for a 26-14 lead, and after trading punts, Byrd stepped in front of Tebow's pass over the middle and took it back 37 yards for a touchdown with 8:03 remaining.
On the next play from scrimmage, Chris Kelsay hit Tebow's arm as the quarterback was rolling left, causing the ball to pop up into the air and into the arms of Johnson, who rumbled 16 yards for the back-breaking score.
"Those guys smelled blood in the water and they got after him," Fitzpatrick said. "It was fun sitting on the sideline seeing the guys jumping around and excited."
The game started out much differently for Denver, which went 73 yards in 11 plays on its first drive, with Tebow plowing over the goal line from a yard out to finish things off.
But the Broncos failed to record a first down the rest of the half, allowing the Bills to shake off two missed field goals by Rayner in the first quarter.
Rayner was wide left on tries of 45 and 31 yards before splitting the uprights on a 28-yard attempt with 6:06 remaining in the second quarter.
Shortly thereafter, Britton Colquitt outkicked his coverage with a 50-yard punt. McKelvin fielded the booming kick at his own 20-yard line and took it up the left sideline, where he avoided Colquitt's blatant trip on his way to the end zone.
Eddie Royal returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, but a block in the back penalty on Dante Rosario nullified the score.
The Bills got the ball back at their own 42 with 1:52 left in the half, and David Nelson's 30-yard catch helped set up Spiller's four-yard touchdown run with 19 seconds remaining.
The Broncos broke out of their offensive funk on their first play of the second half, as Tebow hit Rosario for a 32-yard gain. After running for two yards on 4th-and-1, Tebow found Daniel Fells on a seam route up the middle for a 17-yard touchdown.
Buffalo had first-and-goal situations the next two times it had the ball, but settled for a pair of 25-yard Rayner field goals.
Denver's Willis McGahee rushed for 64 yards on 15 carries and joined Ricky Watters as the only players in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards with three different teams. McGahee also ran for 1,000 yards with Buffalo and Baltimore...The Bills finished the season 5-3 at home and play at New England in next week's season finale...Steve Johnson had a game-high 92 receiving yards on four receptions...Thomas led Denver with four catches for 76 yards.
12/24 19:39:10 ET