FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos runs with the ball against Mark Anderson #95 and Brandon Deaderick #71 of the New England Patriots during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Okay, so it's not mixed martial arts, but if there's one thing MMA Maniacs love to discuss as much as their beloved sport, it's definitely the NFL playoffs.
Today (Sat., Jan. 14, 2012) features a pair of games from both the AFC and NFC Divisional Round. The fun kicked off at 4:30 p.m. ET with the New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers game that resulted in one of the greatest finishes in NFL history, as the Niners advanced to the NFC title game with a 36-32 win.
It continues tonight with the Denver Broncos traveling northeast to play the mighty New England Patriots. I don't even need to break this one down for you folks. It's
David Tim vs. Goliath Tom. This game is expected to receive the most ratings for an NFL Playoff game ever.
Should be fun.
So here it is, Maniacs; an open thread and discussion to keep your fellow gridiron guys and gals abreast of the Broncos vs. Patriots score, as well as a sounding board for any and all football trash talk. Pics, videos, links -- it's all fair game today.
Just try and keep it rated PG-13. Pictures of smoking hot cheerleaders (who are we kidding, all hot women) are strongly encouraged.
Score updates as they happen after the jump.
DENVER BRONCOS VS. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Patriots-7, Broncos-0: New England drove right down the field after Denver decided to put their defense on the field first when they won the coin toss. So Tom Brady drove right down and found Wes Welker for a score that looked entirely too easy. In fact, the Patriots look every bit the juggernaut they're billed as while the Broncos defense looked listless. Tebow time upcoming, though.
Patriots-14, Broncos-0: Tebow fumbled on his first possession and the Patriots capitalized with a touchdown toss from Brady to Rob Gronkowski, the All-Pro tight end who caught the most touchdowns of any player at his position in a single season this year. He also broke the yardage record. There was some doubt initially as to whether or not he possessed the ball all the way through the catch but after a booth review, it was confirmed. Tebow will have to come back from a double digit deficit early.
The first quarter came to a close with the Broncos threatening in the Patriots red zone. This after an interception from Tom Brady, a rare postseason mistake from one of the best who ever did it. He carved up Denver's defense in the first quarter but turnovers are key. Denver will have first and goal to start the second quarter.
END OF FIRST QUARTER
Patriots-14, Broncos-7: Denver quickly put the ball in the end zone on a rush straight up the gut from Willis McGahee. It was immediately sullied by the fact that a Broncos' offensive linemen was flagged for a personal foul after the play was over but the Patriots lead has been cut in half.
Patriots-21, Broncos-7: Rob Gronkowski caught yet another touchdown, due largely to the fact that Denver just doesn't have anyone good enough to cover him. That's not an affront to the Broncos necessarily, as there are few defenders in the entire league with the ability to cover Gronk. He's a beast. It's another uphill climb for Tebow and company.
Patriots-28, Broncos-7: Denver's offense is about as slow-rolling as it could possibly be, unable to move the ball down field in any way. The rushing game shows brief spurts of life but it's mostly three-and-outs. This time they did it again and the Patriots quickly came back with a 66-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Deion Branch on a fly route up the sideline. We're getting into blowout territory here and I wouldn't be surprised if Tebow gets pulled from this game in the second half.
Patriots-35, Broncos-7: Denver failed on offense again and left enough time for Brady and his potent offense to move right down the field once again, with absolutely no problems, to score yet another touchdown. Gronkowski caught his third of the day and Brady threw his fifth of the day, both postseason records.
The half ended with Tebow kneeling the ball and fans everywhere wondering whether or not he'll even be the quarterback in the second half. It's a blowout and there's now little reason to watch the rest of this game. UFC is full steam ahead now.
END OF SECOND QUARTER
Patriots-42, Broncos-7: This is just getting to the point that we know Brady and the Patriots are a million miles ahead of Tebow and the Broncos but we're just waiting to see by exactly how much. Brady tossed another touchdown, giving him six on the day and tying the postseason record. This time it was Aaron Hernandez on the receiving end. This one is over, folks. The clock just hasn't run out yet.
Patriots-42, Broncos-10: Denver managed to get down field and get close enough for Matt Prater to hit a 51-yard field goal but it's hard not to wonder what the point is in kicking field goals when your team is down by so many points. Not that it matters now, I suppose but that's poor coaching.
END OF THIRD QUARTER
Patriots-45, Broncos-10: Shockingly enough, the Patriots again took the ball and went all the way to the Denver two yard line before stalling and deciding to play nice and kick the field goal. This game was over at halftime, no need to rub it in, I guess.
FINAL SCORE -- Patriots-45, Broncos-10: The better team won this game and it was never in doubt. We knew Tim Tebow was never a great quarterback and when it mattered most, he couldn't cut the mustard with the best in the game. That's just the way it is and there's no denying it anymore. The Patriots move on the AFC Championship Game to face the winner of Houston vs. Baltimore.