Brady, Pats slow down Tebow, Broncos 41-23

December 18, 2011 - 8:36 PM
Patriots Broncos Football

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011, in Denver. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

DENVER (AP) — 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.