DENVER - The following are the highlights and lowlights from the Steelers' 29-23 overtime loss to the Denver Broncos in an AFC wild-card game on Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Play of the game: On the first play of overtime, Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow threw a pass over the middle to receiver Demaryius Thomas, and he took the distance, going 80 yards for the game-winning score.
Offensive player of the game: Tebow completed 10-of-21 passes for a career-high 316 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 50 yards and scored once.
Defensive player of the game: Denver cornerback Champ Bailey broke up a pass in the end zone and another one near the end of regulation that could have put the Steelers in position to win the game with a field goal.
Most telling statistic: Tebow completed five passes that went for 30 yards or longer.
Deceiving statistic: The Broncos won despite converting just 3-of-10 third-down opportunities.
Best pass: Tebow threw the ball out far enough in the end zone for Eddie Royal to run under it and catch a 30-yard touchdown in the second quarter despite William Gay's questionable interference.
Worst pass: Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger fired a high pass over the middle to tight end Heath Miller after the Broncos went up 14-6, and Denver rookie safety Quinton Carter intercepted it.
Best run(s): Pittsburgh's Isaac Redman busted loose for 13 yards on a third-and-1 carry in the first quarter and later went 32 yards on third-and-2 to the Denver 1 in the third quarter. He also broke off a 28-yarder in the fourth quarter.
Best catch(es): Thomas grabbed a deep ball in stride along the sideline with Ike Taylor in coverage for a 51-yard gain on third-and-12 in the second quarter. Pittsburgh's Jerricho Cotchery held on to a 31-yard touchdown pass with 3 minutes, 48 seconds left in the game, despite getting hit by Rafael Bush.
Dropped pass(es): Cotchery missed a third-and-3 pass on the Steelers' second possession of the game. David Johnson and Mike Wallace also dropped passes in the first half.
Best block: Broncos left guard Zane Beadles pulled on second-and-6 at the Pittsburgh 8-yard line in the second quarter, and Tebow followed him for a touchdown run.
Missed block: Steelers left tackle Max Starks was run over by Broncos defensive end Robert Ayers for a sack of Roethlisberger in the second quarter.
Best tackle: Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons took down Willis McGahee for a 2-yard loss in the first quarter.
Best hit: Denver linebacker D.J. Williams crushed Johnson on a third-quarter pass that nearly drew a penalty for a hit on a defenseless receiver.
Missed tackle: Taylor gave up an additional 25 yards to Thomas on a second-quarter reception that went for 58 yards and set up the Broncos' second touchdown. He also had a chance to take Thomas down near midfield on the game-winner.
Best coverage: Gay prevented a third Denver second-quarter touchdown by hitting receiver Matthew Willis just as the ball arrived.
Worst coverage: Taylor was beaten by Thomas for 51 and 58 yards in the second quarter and 80 yards on the game-winner.
Best kick: Denver's Matt Prater neutralized Pittsburgh's return game by having all of his kickoffs go for touchbacks. He even hit the crossbar and upright on a couple of the kicks.
Best decision: The quarterback draw by Tebow at the 8-yard line for some reason fooled the Steelers.
Worst decision: A third-and-7 bubble screen to Wallace early in the game stopped a drive when the Steelers had the momentum.
Worst penalt(ies): Denver may have scored more second-quarter points, but an offside penalty on Elvis Dumervil prevented an Andre Goodman interception. Taylor was called for pass interference on Thomas in the third quarter, resulting in the Broncos gaining 32 yards on second-and-8.
Missed call: The officials didn't see Cameron Heyward grabbing Lance Ball's facemask on a third-and-17 run in the fourth quarter that went for 3 yards.
Best effort: Tebow was magnificent, no matter what the critics say.
Unsung hero: Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was on top of his game.
Replays: Pittsburgh and Denver each won challenges on pass receptions in the first half. Catches by Eric Decker and Wallace were ruled incomplete. In the third quarter, an official rule took back a 33-yard touchdown run by Redman and placed the ball at the 1-yard line. Denver challenged a McGahee fumble in the fourth quarter, but the play was upheld after a review.