The Daily Lard 12-12-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! What's there to say anymore? Well, aside from the fact that Denver is now alone in first place after yet another needle-in-a-haystack win? The Broncos beat the Bears 13-10 in overtime thanks largely in part to the powerful right leg of Matt Prater and the apparent desire of Marion Barber to toss the game. First, Barber inexplicably ran out of bounds as the Bears were trying to run out the clock on Denver, instead giving Tim Tebow & Co. an extra 30 or 40 seconds with which to work with (rather than the 56 seconds they ended up getting) before they tied the game on a 59-yard blast from Prater.

Then, while running for what looked to be the game-winning TD in the extra session, Barber incredibly coughed up the ball on the Denver 33-yard line, and Chicago wouldn't get the ball back. Instead, Prater ended the game with a 51-yard no-doubter, and the Broncos are now 8-5 and a full game ahead of the Raiders, who got blasted 46-16 in Green Bay as expected.

As for the rest of the game, it was Week 7 in Miami all over again, again. 55 minutes of pure, unadulterated offensive suckitude. Only the most devoted of Tim's devoted fans saw an NFL quarterback wearing #15 for the first 92% of the game, but at this point what does it matter? Denver is now 7-1 since Tebow made his 2011 starting debut in identical fashion against the Dolphins, and they're likely headed to an AFC West division title and a home playoff game unless they slip up in Buffalo or at home against Kansas City in Week 17. Incredible, truly.

Up next for the Broncos is a home game against New England, who for the second straight week won by a much narrower margin than expected, this time a 34-27 victory over Shanny's Skins. Although the game was tight the whole way, perhaps the most interesting facet was an extensive and colorful shouting match between Tom Brady and Pats OC Bill O'Brien.

By the way, I sure hope the Broncos FO is working on a new contract for Prater ASAP, as I suggested should have happened a month ago.


Highlights of the game from Broncos TV, GameDay and NFLN, video of John FoxTim Tebow and several others speaking afterwards, and Fox's postgame address to the team. Plus, Steve Mariucci on Tebow's play, and Mooch, Deion and Irvin talk about Tebow Magic on NFLN.

Mike Klis and Andrew Mason recap the game, plus notes from the DP: Britton Colquitt utilized a different kicking style to help contain Devin Hester, while Brian Dawkins (neck), David Bruton (ankle) and Andre' Goodman (injuries) suffered notable injuries which kept them from returning to the game. 

Jeff Legwold says to add Chicago to the growing list of defenses that inexplicably went soft late against Tebow.

Mason details the strong likelihood that Denver will make the playoffs and explains why he finally believes in Tebow and the Broncos.

Matt Bowen calls it the "one of the strangest games (he's) seen in a while" and of course lays plenty of blame at the feet of Barber.

Clark Judge thinks these Broncos are similar to the '03 Panthers, and he says whatever they're doing just works.

Nate Winkler calls Tebow a guilty pleasure.

Dave Krieger says it's all beyond explanation, while of course Woody Paige believes.

Mark Kiszla says Wesley Woodyard's come-to-Jesus -Tebow moment came before the win over the Jets.

Gray Caldwell, Max Henson and Kenny Legan recap the game for the official site, plus key plays and select quotes from Stuart Zaas.


Sean Jensen and Brad Biggs recap the loss for Chicago, while Dan Pompei says Tebow stepped up when it mattered.

Naturally, Chicago's defensive leaders were not impressed, as if that matters. Plus, more Bears postgame quotes.

Israel Idonije thinks he should have blocked not just Prater's first FG attempt, but the game-winning kick too.

Obviously, there's plenty of blame being directed Marion Barber's way, but he's at least not alone.

Alex Marvez and Tom Pollin are puzzled by Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli's decision to soften their defensive coverage late.

Christmas Ape, not a big fan of Marion Barber, hahaha.


Speaking of dramatic comebacks, the Texans and old friend Gary Kubiak clinched the first playoff berth in their franchise's history thanks to a 20-19 win over the Bengals as T.J. Yates threw a last-second touchdown pass to Kevin Walter to cap off an 80-yard drive. Houston wrapped up the AFC South title moments later when the Titans lost to the Saints 22-17 when Jake Locker was sacked on third-and-goal as time expired, but the Titans are crying foul and accusing the Saints of blowing a whistle during their penultimate drive.

Baltimore moved a step closer to a playoff berth by beating the still-winless Colts 24-10, keeping pace with the Steelers, over whom they own a head-to-head tiebreaker for the AFC North title. The other team now in playoff position is the Jets, who cruised to a 37-10 win over the Chiefs and stands a full game ahead of the aforementioned Titans, Bengals and Raiders but paid a heavy price in losing S Jim Leonhard - likely for the season - to a knee injury.

As for the AFC teams not headed to the playoffs, Jacksonville ran over the Bucs 41-14 (remember wishing Denver had hired Raheem Morris instead of Josh McDaniels?), Miami fell to the Eagles 26-10 and San Diego whipped the reeling Bills 37-10.

In the NFC, the Saints' win over the Titans helped them clinch a playoff spot, and the Falcons remained two games behind them after coming back to beat the Panthers 31-23 by scoring 24 second-half points. But the victory was apparently a bit too much to handle for Atlanta coach Mike Smith, who was taken to the hospital with chest pains.

The G-Men snuck away with a 37-34 victory in Dallas by scoring two TDs in the closing minutes, while Detroit joined Atlanta at 8-5 thanks to a narrow 34-28 win over the turnover-prone (six more of them, four by Christian Ponder) Vikings. Arizona kept their razor-thin playoff hopes alive with their third straight skin-of-their-teeth victory, this time a 21-19 win over the playoff-bound Niners.


Andy Benoit and Pat Kirwan analyze Sunday's games, plus early and late game analysis from Matt Bowen. As Benoit states, the "yeah buts" were there in abundance yesterday, and that it's "too late for the “nonbelievers” to throw up our hands and see the light now" and "as we continue to sermonize about logic, fewer and fewer people seem to be listening." Obviously, I agree with Benoit - but hey, looks like Denver's headed for the playoffs - so enjoy the last five minutes of each game ride, right?

Eric Edholm also says Tebow & Co. are reprising Hoosiers; Nolan Nawrocki calls Tebow a "force to be reckoned with."

Mike SilverJason Cole, Clark JudgeWill BrinsonDon Banks and John Clayton recap the day's action, plus MJD's best (Caleb Hanie, ouch) and worst (Barber) players. Cole says the Bears secondary deserves plenty of blame for their 4th-quarter play; Judge thinks the loss magnifies the value of the injured Matt Forte; Brinson thinks it truly is time to credit Josh McDaniels for his contributions to the current Denver roster; Clayton says opponents "get dumb" when facing the Broncos and Tebow, and that may sum it up better than anything else.

Insider notes from PFW, including some questioning of Carson Palmer's mental toughness.

Sam Mellinger says time is getting quite short for Handshake Haley in KC, but it doesn't need to be about his toxic personality anymore - the results are a good enough reason to can him.

The Cowboys lost not only the heartbreaking game, but also RB DeMarco Murray to a fractured ankle. Meanwhile, Jerry Jones and family were understandably unhappy last night. HAHAHA

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

The Lard