Tebow leads list of home winners
Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 7:00 pm
By BARRY WILNER
AP Sports Writer
Here come the big boys.
After the four host teams swept the wild-card round, the division winners who earned byes get to try their hands at protecting the home-field advantage.
Tim Tebow’s overtime heroics and the Giants’ balance on offense and stinginess on defense were decisive Sunday.
Tebow hooked up with Demaryius Thomas on an 80-yard pass play to lift Denver over Pittsburgh 26-20, a play that took 11 seconds for the quickest overtime finish in NFL history.
“Definitely a special memory. One that will always be very special,” Tebow said of his fourth overtime win of the season, against no losses.
Manning, having his best pro season, threw for three touchdowns and even scrambled for 14 yards to get New York’s offense on track in a 24-2 victory against inept Atlanta.
“Before the game I said, ‘Hey, let’s have fun, these are special moments and just go out there and play your best,’” Manning said. “I knew all of them would be great and try not to make a big deal about things.”
The big deals on Saturday were Drew Brees and the Saints, and the Texans in their postseason debut.
Brees and New Orleans dominated the second half to romp past Detroit 45-28 in the NFC. In the AFC, Houston won in its first playoff game in its 10-year existence, 31-10 against Cincinnati.
The last time all four home teams won in the wild-card round was 2006.
And now the powerhouses join the action. NFC South champion New Orleans (13-4) visits West winner San Francisco (13-3) on Saturday. The 49ers were 7-1 at home, winning their last six.
“You win 13, 14 games now, and you’re trying to find something,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “When you start playing well on the road and home, you’re probably a better team and we’ve been able to do that.”
Published in The Messenger 1.9.12