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Broncos Beat Steelers On First Play of First New Rule Overtime

It was over as quickly as it began.

Broncos QB Tim Tebow hit Demaryius Thomas on an 80-yard catch-and-run on the first play of overtime, giving the host Broncos a 29-23 win in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

The Steelers season ends mercifully, considering the amount of injuries they racked up down the stretch. DE Brett Keisel and NT Casey Hampton were both injured early Sunday, and didn't return. The Steelers had no back-up defensive linemen, and DEs Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward and NT Steve McClendon played nearly every snap of the game.

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was hobbled, but did lead the Steelers back from a 20-6 halftime deficit to tie the game at 23. Pittsburgh had the ball at the end of regulation, but intense pressure from Denver's front seven led to a sack on the game's last play.

The new overtime rules would have given the team kicking off to start the extra period a chance to tie if the first team with the ball scored a field goal.

We still haven't seen an NFL game with a possession after one team scores in overtime.

Pittsburgh, the defending AFC champions, end their season at 12-5. Denver advances to New England for a game against the No. 1-seeded Patriots Sunday.

An incredibly painful loss, but some truly excellent football in the second half.

We'll have plenty of off-season coverage of the Steelers and the rest of the league, so lick your wounds and come back soon. The next Stairway to Seven goes under construction in approximately four hours.