But he found a better groove before halftime and fired a 19-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph.
Then Jared Allen, who picked up a safety for stopping McGahee in the end zone on the first play for the Broncos, chased Tebow out of the pocket and stripped the ball as he sacked him with 39 seconds left in the second quarter, setting up Longwell for his second field goal to give the Vikings a 15-7 lead.
Tebow didn’t wait for the closing minutes to start the rally. The Broncos drove 78 yards for a score right after halftime to cut the lead to 15-14 on the first touchdown to Thomas. McGahee tore up the Vikings between the tackles on that possession and finished with 111 yards on 20 attempts.
Ponder, a college rival of the former Florida star Tebow while at Florida State, responded right away, though. He completed a 52-yard touchdown pass to Harvin, another Gators star, when Chris Harris fell down trying to cover the out route, letting Harvin race untouched to put the Vikings back up by eight.
Quan Cosby’s kickoff return past midfield put the Broncos back in position, though, and the next big play was all Tebow. Pushed out of the pocket with no one open, he ran left and delivered on on-target across-his-body throw to Thomas, who ran the rest of the way for a 41-yard score.
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