Broncos Defense Not Getting Enough Credit

Sure Tim Tebow is pulling off miracles, but those are only possible if the game is close.

     Broncos players are at a loss for words as to what's happening during their current six-game winning streak. Even executive vice president of football operations John Elway threw out the old term "Mile High Magic" to describe the recent run of comeback thrillers.

   "Yeah, I do shake my head," cornerback Champ Bailey said when considering the upturn. "It's like, 'Here we go again.' But we find a way."

   Once again Sunday, Denver was horrible for three quarters before turning up the production.

   Tebow completed 3 of 16 passes for 45 yards and an interception with a 13.5 rating the first 45 minutes; he was 18 of 24 for 191 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter and overtime.

   "We get into a little bit more hurry-up mode. We get a little more up-tempo and he's got a great ability to make things happen," coach John Fox said. "I think that's the best part of his game."

   The Broncos are just the second team in NFL history to win four straight games while trailing in the fourth quarter joining the 2009 Indianapolis Colts.

   --The Denver defense got lost in the shuffle again due to another Tebow-led comeback Sunday. But the resurgence of that group can't be understated.

   Chicago was limited to just 245 yards and 2-for-15 on third down. That brings Denver's total allowance over the last eight games in that category to 30-for-110 (27.2 percent). The Broncos have added 25 sacks and 12 takeaways during the team's 7-1 streak.

   "They're just a good defense," Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie said. "They've been holding a lot of guys down the last couple of weeks during their streak. They're a tough defense. They have a lot of good veteran players in the secondary, a lot of smart guys. They play hard and added good pressure (Sunday). It's tough, though. We definitely gave this one to them."

   --Strong-side linebacker Von Miller made it through unscathed wearing a protective cast over his surgically-repaired thumb in Sunday's overtime victory over Chicago.

Broncos Von Miller
   "It's better. It's healing faster than I thought it was," he said. "At first I was kind of nervous about it in practice, but ... then I got out to the game and barely noticed it."

   Miller added his confidence level was high in his hand, which went under the knife after the Nov. 27 game vs. San Diego. He'll have to wear protection over the hand for the duration of the season.

   "I definitely could have played better if I had two (hands), but that's part of football," he said. "You get hurt, you're going to have injuries, you've just got to play through them."

HOT TOPIC: Can Tebow Do It Again?

   --QB Tim Tebow's current 5.5-yard average per carry is the highest in the NFL among players with at least 70 attempts.
   --RB Lance Ball is coming off a game in which he posted career-bests in receptions (four) and yards (37).
   --RB Willis McGahee needs 80 yards Sunday vs. the Patriots for his first 1,000-yard rushing season since 2007 with Baltimore and fourth overall.
   --WR Quan Cosby fielded a career-high eight punts last Sunday, making a pair of fair catches and averaging 9.1 yards on his six runbacks. Cosby now ranks 13th in the NFL with his 10.3-yard season average.
   --WR Demaryius Thomas has scored a TD on four of his 18 catches this season, including three scores on 11 grabs over the last two games.
   --TE Daniel Fells didn't have a catch for a second straight game. In fact, no Broncos tight end has a reception since Fells and Dante Rosario each had one in the Nov. 27 game in San Diego.
   --TE Julius Thomas was inactive for a fourth straight week and for the eighth time overall this season. A high-ankle injury hampered Thomas early in the season but has since healed. The Broncos have since decided to go with a three-man rotation at the position of Fells, Rosario and rookie Virgil Green.
   --WLB D.J. Williams had four tackles for loss in Week 14, most among all NFL defenders.
   --S Quinton Carter was forced to play the more unfamiliar strong-side position after veteran Brian Dawkins was forced out of the Chicago game with a neck injury. The expectation is that Dawkins will return for New England, allowing Carter to slide back to his free-safety role.
   --LS Lonie Paxton won three Super Bowls with New England (XXXVI; XXXVII: XXXIV) before signing as a free agent with Denver before the 2009 season. Paxton has faced his old team before, a Denver win on Oct. 11, 2009 in overtime.

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