Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow picked up his first career win in his first career start at INVESCO Field at Mile High today, defeating the Houston Texans, 24-23. Tebow now has his first career fourth quarter comeback, scoring the game-winning touchdown on a six-yard run with a little over three minutes to go.
Tebow started the drive on his own 24-yard line and never let up. He converted a third down by completing a 22-yard pass to Correll Buckhalter, who took over running back duties for the re-injured Knowshon Moreno (ribs). Eventually, the team wound up on Houston's one-yard line, but a false start penalty put the Broncos back five yards. Tebow took the snap and ran to his left to tie the game at 23 all. Steve Hauschka kicked the extra point to put the Broncos up by a point.
It was a tale of two halves for Tebow. His first drive ended prematurely when he threw an interception in the end zone, and he finished the first half with 7-of-12 passing for 100 yards and a 50.7 QB rating. In the second half, Tebow turned things around, helping the Broncos outscore the Texans, 24-6. Tebow's 50-yard throw to Brandon Lloyd helped set up Correll Buckhalter's six-yard touchdown run, the Broncos' first score of the game. To start the fourth quarter, Tebow led another long drive that resulted in a 23-yard touchdown pass to Buckhalter. He capped it off with a late fourth quarter drive to put the Broncos ahead, 24-23.
Tebow finished the day 16-of-29 passing for 308 yards, a passing touchdown, a rushing touchdown and an interception.
With just over a minute left on the clock, the Broncos' Syd'Quan Thompson intercepted a Matt Schaub pass that was tipped at the line by defensive lineman Justin Bannan to seal the victory. In the end, the Broncos' defense was able to hold the Texans--barely.
Broncos receiver Brandon Lloyd caught five passes for 111 yards and now holds the record for second-most receiving yards in a season with 1,375 (In 2000, Rod Smith took the record with 1,602 yards). Correll Buckhalter came up big when it counted most, despite modest stats (42 yards on the ground).
Still, this game was not without its pitfalls. Matt Schaub threw for 310 yards against the defense and Arian Foster was able to run for 91 yards. Also, Mike McCoy's play-calling in the first half was questionable, though those screen passes started to work in the second half.
The Denver Broncos improved to 4-11 on the season and will finish the season at home next Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.