Patriots beat Broncos, 41-23

Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011 7:52 PM
Last updated 7:55 PM
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DENVER — Tom Brady and the New England Patriots shut down Tim Tebow and clinched a playoff berth with a 41-23 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) fumbles the ball as he is hit by New England Patriots defensive end Mark Anderson (95) in the second quarter of the Broncos loss to the Patriots.  JACK DEMPSEY/ASSOCIATED PRESS
JACK DEMPSEY/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) fumbles the ball as he is hit by New England Patriots defensive end Mark Anderson (95) in the second quarter of the Broncos loss to the Patriots.

The Patriots (11-3) won their sixth straight game and another AFC East title by bouncing back from an early 17-6 deficit and an awful first quarter in which they were outgained on the ground 167 yards to 4.

This time, there was no last-minute magic from Tebow, Denver's enigmatic quarterback who had guided the Broncos (8-6) to four straight fourth-quarter comebacks and six straight wins.

Instead of another slow start followed by a fantastic finish, the Broncos started out fast and then fizzled. They scored on their first three possessions and then were done in by a trio of second-quarter turnovers.


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