New England 45, Denver 10
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 14, 2012
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
Tebowmania was laid to rest for the 2011 season, courtesy of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Brady tied a postseason record with six touchdown passes and the top-seeded Patriots humbled the visiting Denver Broncos 45-10 on Saturday night in the AFC divisional round.
New England (14-3) extended its winning streak to nine games and advanced to next weekend's AFC Championship Game. The Patriots will host the winner of Sunday's matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans.
The Patriots set a franchise playoff record for most points in a game behind the stellar play of Brady, who matched the record of six TD passes held by Oakland's Daryle Lamonica (1969) and San Francisco's Steve Young in Super Bowl XXIX.
Brady finished with 363 yards and threw a record five touchdown passes in the first half - three to tight end Rob Gronkowski - to carry New England to a 35-7 lead en route to its first postseason victory since beating San Diego in the AFC title game following the 2007 season.
Gronkowski, who set regular-season league records for most touchdowns (17) and yards (1,327) by a tight end, finished with 10 receptions for 145 yards.
Brady and Patriots coach Bill Belichick also set a record with the 15th playoff win by a quarterback-coach tandem, eclipsing the mark held by Pittsburgh's Terry Bradshaw and Chuck Noll.
It was an ugly ending to the season for Tebow, who threw for 136 yards on 9-of-26 passing, was sacked five times and had as many completions in the first half as Gronkowski had touchdowns.
Tebow has been among the biggest storylines - and lightning rod for criticism - this season after moving into a starting role in Week 7 and guiding the Broncos to seven wins in his first eight starts - several in dramatic fashion.
But the gulf between the second-year quarterback and two-time MVP Brady was painfully obviously in a rematch of New England's 41-23 victory at Denver last month.
Brady tossed a pair of first-quarter touchdown passes for a 14-0 lead, but he also threw an interception that led to a 5-yard touchdown run by Willis McGahee on the first play of the second quarter.
From then on it was all Patriots. Brady threw his second scoring pass to Gronkowski midway through the second quarter before hitting Deion Branch on a 61-yard soring strike with 1:57 left in the half.
New England got the ball back one more time and Brady moved the team 58 yards in five plays, capped by a 19-yard pass to Gronkowski with five seconds left in the half.
Brady threw for 246 yards in the first half while Tebow was limited to 28 yards on 3-for-10 passing.
Top Game Performances
Team Stats Summary