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On paper, it looks like a mismatch: Tebow against Belichick, who’s been successfully scheming how to ruin a quarterback’s life long before Tebow was born. Then again, the same could have been said about Dick LeBeau, who called the shots for Pittsburgh’s defense and learned a new trick to his everlasting regret on the first play of Sunday’s overtime period. Just as the Broncos had on 21 of 22 previous first-down attempts, they came out in a run formation and put a wide receiver in motion. And just as they had on all the previous attempts, Polamalu and Mundy started sneaking up to the line. And then Tebow confounded everyone but his own coaches _ at least this once _ by standing in the pocket and throwing a simple slant _ the way every other starter and backup in the NFL has to do just to survive training camp.

Then again, no one expected Tebow to make it out of there, either.

No wonder he smiled mischievously when he said afterward, “We keep believing.”

Even if few others do.

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Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)ap.org . Follow him at http://Twitter.com/JimLitke