Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Sunday, December 4, 2011
Wrap-up: Broncos 35, Vikings 32

By Bill Williamson


A look at another thrilling Denver win, this time 35-32 over the Minnesota Vikings:

What it means: Denver is now tied with Oakland for first place in the AFC West at 7-5. Denver has won five straight games and has won six of quarterback Tim Tebow’s seven starts this season. The Broncos are a major factor in the AFC West playoff race after starting the season 1-4.

Tomorrow’s talker: Tebow is getting better as a passer. Denver -- which scored 28 points in the second half -- is still not comfortable enough to make Tebow a pure pocket passer, but he is making major strides. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 202 yards. He made several key completions and his passes continue to get more aesthetically pleasing. After running a record 22 times last week, he ran only four times for 13 yards

Winning close games: It was Denver’s third straight last-minute victory and the fourth since Tebow took over.

Thomas helping: Tebow is building a rapport with fellow 2010 first-round pick Demaryius Thomas. Thomas had four catches for 144 yards and the two nearly connected on a touchdown late in the game before Denver tied the score with a field goal. Eric Decker had been Tebow’s favorite target. He had 25 yards on two catches.

Defense comes through: The Vikings got their yardage, but Denver’s defense came up with three turnovers. An interception by cornerback Andre Goodman with less than two minutes to go set up the win. This was a hard-fought game by the Denver defense. It was on the field for 37 minutes, 51 seconds and nearly 22 minutes in the first half. But it buckled down when it needed to.

Haggan has big game: Denver veteran linebacker Mario Haggan had a terrific game as he spelled rookie star Von Miller, who was out with ligament damage to his thumb. Haggan had a team-high 12 tackles and an interception return for a score.

McGahee makes big runs: At the age of 30, Denver running back Willis McGahee continued to shine. He had 111 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, on 20 carries. Denver, the leading rushing team in the NFL, had 150 rushing yards on 32 carries.

What’s next: Denver hosts the Jay Cutler-less Bears next week as they hope to continue their unlikely march toward the playoffs.