Tim Tebow thanked his savior Sunday.
No offense to Tebow's spiritual beliefs, but Barber had more to do with Tebow's latest uncanny victory than anybody or anything -- mythical, mystical or otherwise.
Barber rushed for 108 yards on 27 carries, including a nine-yard touchdown and was inches away from becoming a hero for the Bears, until fate mysteriously moved its huge hands in favor of Tebow and the Broncos:
With the Bears trying to run out the clock to clinch a 10-7 victory in regulation, Barber inexplicably ran out of bounds after a five-yard run to the Broncos 46 with 1:55 to play. By running out of bounds, he saved the Broncos -- who had no time outs -- 30-40 seconds. The Bears ended up punting and Tebow drove the Broncos for a tying 59-yard field goal by Matt Prater that sent the game into overtime.
''I might have thanked the Lord when he did that,'' Tebow said. ''He obviously ... shouldn't do that and that kept us in it. I mean, we probably would have had 10 seconds if he stayed in bounds. But it was just special.''
Barber was given a reprieve when he took a Hanie pass 16 yards to the Broncos 41 in overtime. On a third-and-seven play from the Broncos 38, Barber gained five yards to get the Bears solidly in Robbie Gould's field-goal range. But as he tried to get away for more yardage, Barber fumbled and the Broncos' Elvis Dumervil recovered. Tebow drove the Broncos for a field goal that gave them a stunning 13-10 victory.
''We all know what type of player Marion is,'' Bears coach Lovie Smith said. ''All running backs are trying to get a couple more yards here and there, but we have to know the situation. In that situation [at the end of regulation] we have to keep the ball in bounds. He'll tell you that. I know we'd all like to have that one back.''
Actually, we don't know if Barber would tell us that, because Barber avoids talking to the media almost without exception. No surprise he was nowhere to be found after Sunday's debacle. We're still waiting to ask him why he didn't line up on the line of scrimmage against the Chiefs last week, nullifying his own four-yard touchdown pass.
But Barber had the full support of his teammates.
''Marion Barber is a heckuva football player'' linebacker Lance Briggs said. ''And Marion Barber is going to help us to get into the playoffs. He made some great plays today. Things happen. It happened to all of us. I'm proud of the guy. If he keeps his head up, he's going to help the Bears win.''
''That was tough,'' quarterback Caleb Hanie said. ''You always want to stay in bounds pin those situations. He was making a tough run, trying to get a couple more yards. But that didn't lose the game for us. We lost it by not scoring more points.''
It's just one of those things that happened.
''In that situation a lot of things are going through your head,'' running back Khalil Bell said. ''I didn't really know what to think. I knew we were trying to get a first down to seal the game. So all my concern was trying to get us the first down.''