The Tim Tebow and Denver Broncos improbable run had to stop at some point, and like many predicted, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, winning 41-23 at Mile High while clinching the AFC East, were the ones to do it.
It didn’t seem that way for the first 15 minutes. The Broncos put up 176 rushing yards in the first quarter, as Tim Tebow and Willis McGahee ran all over the Pats’ defense. Well, the Patriots’ secondary has been the problems all season long, so New England let the Broncos run everything they had before the ammunition ran out. Tim Tebow wasn’t going to beat the Patriots by throwing.
He ran for 93 yards and two touchdowns one in the first quarter to open the scoring, another in the fourth, a garbage time TD. His passing was hard to watch as usual, throwing for 194 yards, 11-22. At least he got to %50.
Tom Brady? It didn’t start so well for the Patriots, but then came that huge second quarter, putting 20 points on the board. Even Tom Brady used his legs to bring home a touchdown, his first rushing touchdown in over a year. He finished with 320 yards and two touchdown passes to Chad Ochocinco (his first of the season) and Aaron Hernandez, the less talked about Tight End. Rob Gronkowski finished with 53 yards from 4 receptions.
Brady has been on a tear since the 5-3 start by the Patriots. Since then, it’s been six straight wins, with Brady throwing 15 TD passes and only one interception. The Patriots have averaged 35.8 points in those six wins, winning by an average of 17 points. Brady’s two touchdowns brought him to 35 this season, becoming only the second quarterback in history with at least 3 season of 35 or more TD passes. The other is Brett Favre.
While this was business as usual for the Patriots, with Brady getting only his second win over the Denver Broncos, the only team he has a losing record against, this was a humbling experience for the Broncos. Not just Tebow, but also the praised defense, who once again, found it hard to keep up with an elite quarterback. They’re 1-4 this year when facing quarterbacks in the NFL’s top 10 (passing yards).
Champ Bailey, one of those who got torched on the day, gave us an idea of how it felt – We showed today that we’re not ready to go to the playoffs and make a push. We’ve got to get better and we only have two or three weeks to do it. If we don’t, then we’ll be sitting home. He’s still the best out there, in my opinion, And you make mistakes against a guy like that, he’s going to make you pay. That’s pretty much what happened all day.
Having Brian Dawkins out of the game hurt the Broncos, who had to rely on rookies Quinton Carter and Rahim Moore.
Tim Tebow, despite the unimpressive game, despite the lack of any late minute heroics, was as usual, the main focus of the post game – We did have things going pretty well early, scored on the first three possessions and felt like we were moving the ball good and then we put it on the ground. That’s something you can’t do against a great team and Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Besides that, we were right there with them.
John Fox, as usual, was mostly asked about his quarterback sensation – I thought he improved. He’ll continue to improve. This was a setback, no doubt about that. But sometimes setbacks are setups for bigger things to come.
The Broncos haven’t seen the playoffs for quite some time, the last five seasons to be exact. In 2005, after finishing with a 13-3 record, the beat the Patriots in the divisional playoffs with that incredible Champ Bailey interception before losing at home to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game.
Right now they lead the division with an 8-6 record, but the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders are both 7-7, right behind them. They visit the Bills, who lost at home to the Dolphins this week and look like a shattered bunch. The Chiefs come to play in Colorado to end the season, and after becoming the first team to take down the Green Bay Packers this year, there’s not even any need to talk about the divisional rivalry and all that. On the other hand, no elite quarterbacks facing them these next two weeks.