POSTED: Sunday, December 18, 2011 - 9:27pm
UPDATED: Monday, December 19, 2011 - 6:36pm
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.
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.