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Despite not getting the late-game heroics in Sunday's 41-23 New England Patriots victory over the Denver Broncos, the Week 15 NFL match up still did extremely well in the TV ratings. According to Austin Karp of Sports Business Daily, the late-game contest received a 19.5 overnight rating, which not only was the highest for a CBS NFL game this season, but was the best mark in four years.
Of course, the build up to the highly anticipated match up between the Pats, who featured star quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, and the Broncos, who featured the unexplained magic of quarterback Tim Tebow, earned some early-game eye balls.
The game could have earned a better rating if the New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles broadcast was slotted at a different time or NBC was able to flex the Broncos-Patriots game in the Sunday night slot. If that had happened, then the New England-Denver contest would have had two more major TV markets watching.
Just imagine what the ratings would have been then?
The New England Patriots defeated the Denver Broncos 41-23 Sunday. Here's how the victory affected the Patriots' AFC playoff picture.
Tim Tebow and the Broncos were beaten by the Patriots. Translation? Tebow Time is over, right? Not exactly. Tebow proved that he is a legitimate threat in the loss, but at the end of the day, Tom Brady and company emerged on top.
Just like many expected, the New England Patriots defeated the Denver Broncos -- and of course, Tom Brady triumphed over Tim Tebow. While Tebow didn't win the game, he put together quite an impressive effort, completing 11-of-22 passes for 194 yards and rushing for 93 yards and two touchdowns in the Broncos' 41-23 loss to the Patriots on Sunday.
"We kept fighting for the entire day. That's something that I'm extremely proud of. We did have things going pretty well early, scored in our first three possessions, felt like we were moving the ball good," said Tebow. "Then we put it on the ground and that's something you can't do vs. a great team with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Besides that, we were right there with them."
"There's a lot of great things we can take out of this game, try to improve and get better," said Tebow. "I think every time there's a setback it's just more of an opportunity to make a new step up and do something even bigger and better. We're going to be excited about this week, going to Buffalo. We'll be extremely motivated. And we'll have a good week of practice." (via WEEI)
On 4th down and 17, Tim Tebow needed some magic to convert for the Denver Broncos against the New England Patriots. He didn't have any magic on this play. Instead of a miracle conversion, Tebow was sacked for a loss of 28 yards.
Tebow had to try to keep the play alive because Denver was trailing. Earlier in the game, he was successful in escaping the Patriots defenders coming after him in the backfield. His touchdown run which gave the Broncos an early 6-0 lead came on a play when he had to break a tackle in the backfield. On this play, however, Tebow was not going to make a daring escape. After Tebow initially slipped away from him, Rob Ninkovich was the beneficiary on the play and got to record one of the longest sacks you will ever see during an NFL game.
On the road, up against a team that has time-and-again pulled off the win even when it seemed all hope was lost, the Patriots picked apart the Broncos defense, debunked the myth of Tebow, and left AFC East Champions.
For Patriots fans, the result is perhaps not what they expected after the first quarter. In 15 minutes which saw the Broncos' ground game absolutely dominate the New England defense, Denver grabbed an early 13-7 lead (having botched the extra point on their first touchdown), and forced a punt from the Patriots on their second drive. It was arguably the most inept display in a quarter all season from the Patriots' defense.
But then the second quarter began, and it was as though an entirely different team had taken the field. The defense quickly held in the red zone, forcing a field goal, and then the offense went to work. While the Broncos defense had managed to take away Rob Gronkowski and BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the first quarter (amazingly, it was Chad Ochocinco who finally found his way into the end zone to put the Patriots on the board), in the second the Patriots turned instead to Aaron Hernandez and Danny Woodhead, who covered much of the 80 yards that they needed to reach the end zone.
If the Patriots were changed for the better, the Broncos were changed for the worse. On the first play from scrimmage on the ensuing drive, Lance Ball had the ball stripped by Ron Brace, setting up an easy field goal. On the very next drive, it was Tebow coughing up the ball, this time allowing the Patriots to drive for seven points when Tom Brady snuck in from the 1-yard line.
It looked like that was all New England would get in the half when they failed to capitalize on a last-minute drive, but one more turnover cost the Broncos even more points, as Quan Cosby muffed the punt allowing Stephen Gostkowski to put the Pats up 27-16 at the half.
After a couple of punts started the second half, the Patriots set to working on the clock, going with short passes and runs to eat up time. It didn't hurt that, with some runs after catches, they managed to pick up big yards along the way. Setting up 10 yards from the end zone, Tom Brady handed the ball off to Danny Woodhead, who made a nasty cut and scurried past the goal line untouched for six more points.
The Denver Broncos did not quite go quietly into that good night in the fourth, as Tebow Time made a brief appearance. After Tebow had narrowly avoided giving up a safety and a touchdown on the previous drive, he managed to rally his troops for one big push against a Patriots secondary that once again proved out-of-sorts in pass coverage. Tebow found Demaryius Thomas for 39 yards on a 3rd-and-18 play, dumped off a short pass to Lance Ball that ended up going for 34 more, and then took the ball in himself from two yards out.
The rally would die almost as soon as it had started, however, with Tom Brady finally finding Rob Gronkowski for a big gain of 38 yards, and then alternating between short passes to Aaron Hernandez and handing the ball off to Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead to set up a short BenJarvus Green-Ellis touchdown run that iced the game at 41-23.
New England Patriots defensive end Andre Carter went down in the first quarter of Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos with an injury. It was hard to tell exactly how Carter was injured on the play. He was engaged with a couple of Broncos' linemen during the play and fell to the turf at the end of the play and held his knee immediately. Carter was then carted off the field and ruled out for the rest of the game by the Patriots.
After the game, it was known that Carter will need surgery:
Breaking: Agent Carl Poston just told me "looks like Andre (Carter) has a quad-related injury that will require surgery." #Patriots (via Josina Anderson's Twitter)
Carter leads the Patriots this season with 10 sacks.
Who says only Tim Tebow is allowed to score in the fourth quarter? Just as the Broncos had finished celebrating their first touchdown since the first quarter, the Patriots grabbed the ball and drove down the field to stick a fork in their vanquished opponents.
While Rob Gronkowski had been held quiet for much of the game, the young phenom finally picked up his big gain for the night. On 2nd-and-6 from the 24-yard line, Tom Brady found the big man over the middle and he was off to the races, running out right to pick up 38 yards and barrel into Broncos territory. But it didn't take long for Brady to get back to his preferred target for the game, finding Aaron Hernandez twice around an offensive holding call to add another 38, setting up BenJarvus Green-Ellis for a quick run into the end zone.
While that score essentially sealed the game, it would be sad not to mention that on the ensuing drive, facing a 4th-and-17 play, Tim Tebow attempted to pull off what can only be called a "Tecmo Bowl" play, managing to run 28 yards in the wrong direction before being taken down by the New England defense. How many sacks does Rob Ninkovich get for that loss?
If you're a Patriots fan, what just happened is the last thing you want to see.
After a near-safety, near-touchdown play from the Patriots defense came up empty on the previous drive when Tim Tebow recovered from a fumble to throw the ball out of bounds downfield, the Denver defense forced a punt and perhaps set up--dare I say it?--Tebow Time.
Backed up into a 3rd-and-18 after a big sack from Mark Anderson, Tim Tebow pulled off his first big "miracle" of the game when Devin McCourty assumed he had safety help over the top on Demaryius Thomas. With Sergio Brown forced to cover his own man open, however, Thomas was free and clear deep down the right sideline where Tebow found him for 39 yards. On the very next play, it was Lance Ball picking up a big gain on a short pass to bring the Broncos within just a couple yards, where Tim Tebow got the call and plowed into the end zone behind his big offensive line.
It's still a 34-23 game, and New England will have a chance to essentially ice it with a touchdown on their next possession, but if you're not a little nervous, then you haven't been watching Denver these last couple months.
The New England Patriots seem to be in the driver's seat of this one, as Danny Woodhead capped off a long drive with a 10-yard touchdown run to put them up by 18 big points.
Already the Patriots seem to be focusing on running out as much clock as possible. Focusing on BenJarvus Green-Ellis both with a short pass and handoffs, the Patriots' offense covered 35 quick yards to get out to midfield. With the run established, Brady returned to the air for a couple quick passes which, combined with a facemask, brought them all the way to the Denver 14-yard line. From there, a quick Rob Gronkowski target brought them within 10 yards, and Danny Woodhead brought them all the way home, with a nasty cut keeping the Bronco's defense off his back and allowing him to run untouched into the end zone.
With the fourth quarter drawing near, the Patriots are up 34-16--hopefully the sort of lead which Tim Tebow won't be able to melt away with his characteristic late-game "miracles".
Who was the biggest star of the first half? Tom Brady or Tim Tebow? Brady had two touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown. He followed the rushing touchdown with an impressive spike. Tim Tebow had one rushing touchdown but had guided Denver to scores on their first three possessions. Both quarterbacks had good plays to pick from in the first half, but they might have both been upstaged at halftime by a monkey riding a dog which you can see below:
Just try and not watch this gif for the rest of the second half. We dare you.
The New England Patriots were surprisingly trailing 16-7 in the second quarter of their game against the Denver Broncos until a Wes Welker catch set up a Patriots touchdown that would cut the Broncos lead to two points.
Welker beat his man on the play and looked as if he might have scored. An official replay showed that Welker was down before he crossed the goal line. After Welker's 19-yard catch, the Patriots scored two plays later. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was not able to get in from the 1-yard line on his rushing attempt. Tom Brady connected with Aaron Hernandez on the next play for a touchdown. The Hernandez catch made the score 16-14 in favor of the Broncos.
The Patriots looked to have settled in after trailing early on the road.
The Denver Broncos have done something few other teams have accomplished so far this season: they've taken Rob Gronkowski away from the Patriots' offense, holding him to just 15 yards in the first quarter.
Of course, it's come at the cost of allowing Aaron Hernandez to run completely wild on them, but the moral victory and morale impact can't be overstated. After all, what are the Patriots without their Gronkowski spikes to energize the team?
Well, it turns out that Tom Brady has an answer even for that. After pushing the ball just barely over the goal line for a touch down in the second quarter, Brady extracted himself from the pile, and stepped up to take over for Gronkowski:
Not the spike we're used to seeing Brady execute, is it? The real question is whether or not the future Hall of Fame quarterback has actually been taking lessons from his sophomore tight end target. Even the best can be taught in some areas.
If the offensive fumbles weren't trouble enough, the Denver Broncos have once again shot themselves in the foot in the second quarter.
While the Broncos were able to hold onto the ball this time, a couple bad passes from Tim Tebow kept the Broncos from picking up even one first down on their last drive of the second quarter, forcing a punt to New England with 53 seconds left in the half. While Tom Brady has made this sort of drive his bread and butter during his career, it was not to be this time. A long pass to Aaron Hernandez fell just beyond the tight end's reach, leaving the Patriots forced to punt back to the Broncos as time wound down.
It should have been a simple end to the quarter for Denver, but for whatever reason Quan Cosby decided to try to field the punt. Bad idea. The punt was muffed and recovered by Denver, serving up a quick and easy field goal for New England headed into the half.
Tim Tebow and the Broncos thrive off of close games late, so for the Patriots having a comfortable lead is hugely important. With another chance to score to start the second half, it could be just the opportunity the Pats need to step on the Broncos' throats and end their winning streak.
For the second straight drive, the New England Patriots forced a fumble in Denver territory, and took advantage of it to put points on the board.
This time the guilty party for Denver was none other than Tim Tebow himself, who took a big hit from Mark Anderson and coughed up the ball to the Patriots on his own 40-yard line. Again given strong starting field position, the Patriots were able to come up big this time. Aaron Hernandez continued his big day by picking up 25 yards with an evasive run after the catch, and on a 2nd-and-1 play Tom Brady kept the ball himself, surging forward behind the offensive line to pick up his first rushing touchdown of the season.
Since the Broncos took a 16-7 lead, it's been all New England. One big touchdown drive of their own, followed by two shorter scoring drives on costly Denver fumbles. The defense may have shown up late to the game, but they seem ready to play now.
The New England Patriots responded after a Tim Tebow touchdown run gave the Denver Broncos a 6-0 at Sports Authority Field on Sunday. A long but also quick drive gave the Patriots their first lead of the game.
The Patriots' 2nd and 10 play went for a touchdown on what looked like a blown coverage by the Broncos as Ochocinco could not have been more wide open on the play. The Patriots did make their extra point (Denver botched the hold on their attempt) and took a 7-6 lead in the first quarter of play.
The touchdown catch was the first of the season for Chad Ochcocinco.
The second quarter is going quite well for New England so far, as a fumble by Denver running back Lance Ball gave the Patriots the field position needed to add three points and retake the lead.
The fumble came at the 25-yard line, with Ron Brace getting his hand on the ball and knocking it out of the Denver back's hand. Unfortunately, even with that terrific field position, the Patriots would come up just short of the end zone. While Stevan Ridley and Tom Brady combined for a quick first down, a controversial incomplete call on a pass to Aaron Hernandez kept the team out of the end zone. While Hernandez seemed to get his hands under the ball to make a diving catch on the slow-motion replay, Bill Belichick felt the video evidence was not strong enough to overturn the call, and chose to preserve his challenge flag for later. Gostkowski instead got the call, and put the ball through the uprights for three more points and the 17-16 lead.
After Tim Tebow's touchdown to give the Denver Broncos a 6-0 lead over the New England Patriots, the Broncos botched the extra point when the hold on the kick could not be secured. The Patriots picked up the ball and tried to run it back for a one-point safety, except that the point didn't count as the botched snap could not be advanced on the play and the play was immediately blown dead.
Rules aside, it was an exciting return for the Patriots which involved a last-ditch lateral to avoid being down.
Although the point did not count, the Patriots avoided going down by a score of 7-0 due to the botched hold. The play will go down officially as an unsuccessful kick for Matt Prater.
After falling flat on their second offensive series, Tom Brady and the New England offense have found their footing again in the second quarter, driving for their second touchdown of the game and cutting Denver's lead to just two points in the second quarter.
Unlike the speedy drives that marked the first quarter, the Patriots took their time on this one, taking 20 minutes of real time to execute 12 plays and add seven points. While the running game had thus far been stifled by Denver's defense, the Patriots seem to have found an answer for now in Danny Woodhead. While he took a beating doing it, Woodhead contributed 30 yards on just four plays, combining with a tricky Aaron Hernandez run to get the Patriots into Denver territory.
It looked like the Patriots had found a touchdown a little early when Tom Brady fired a laser over Wes Welker's shoulder, who made a diving grab and set up the Patriots within the one yard line when a replay showed he had been touched as he slid into the end zone. A couple plays later, and Tom Brady found Aaron Hernandez in the back of the end zone for seven points.
The New England Patriots lost defensive end Andre Carter in the first quarter in their game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field on Sunday. Carter was taken off the field on a cart with a left knee injury.
Carter was engaged was a couple of players and went down at the end of the play and grabbed his knee. After being carted off the field, he was ruled out for the rest of the game:
Patriots injury update: DE Andre Carter left the game with a knee injury and will not return. (via Patriots' Twitter)
The Patriots could ill afford Carter to go out as he has played like their best defender. New England has had a hard time stopping the rushing attack of the Broncos so far in the game.
Carter leads the Patriots this season with 10 sacks. He also has 52 tackles and 2 forced fumbles this season.
The good news is that New England has finally managed to keep the Broncos out of the end zone on their third drive of the game. The bad news is that, between a New England punt and a Denver field goal, they've now taken a 16-7 lead over the Patriots.
Tom Brady and the Patriots came up empty on their second drive of the game despite a defensive holding call granting them a first down after they seemed to come up short on a 3rd-and-7 play. They had no help from the referees on their next series, however, with a short run and an incompletion setting up a 3rd-and-9. While Tom Brady seemed to have found a man open well down field in Tiquan Underwood, the young wide receiver failed to get his feet down in bounds, resulting in an incomplete pass and forcing a punt.
From there, it seemed like a pretty typical Denver drive. Tim Tebow made his one pass, finding an open Eric Decker a big gain and then heading into the end zone with a couple more big runs. Finally, though, New England's defense made a stand. A few short gains from the Broncos, topped off by five yards from Tim Tebow, left them just a yard short when New England declined a holding penalty. Deciding to go the safe route, John Fox called on Matt Prater to put the ball through the uprights for three more points early on in the second quarter.
Three drives have resulted in three touchdowns so far in Denver, with the Broncos needing just four plays against the sieve-like New England defense to once again put points on the board and take the lead back, 13-7.
Already the defense has given up more rushing yards in a quarter than any other New England team during the Bill Belichick era. While 22 yards came from a short pass that turned long thanks to the run after the catch by Demaryius Thomas, it was a pair of runs by Willis McGahee and Lance Ball that led to 29 and 32 yards respectively, with the latter dash winding up in the end zone. All told, the drive took just four plays and 2:23 off the clock--beating Tom Brady's earlier drive by one play and two seconds.
The New England defense had seemed to be making progress in the weeks leading up to the Indianapolis game. But the near-collapse in the fourth quarter seems to have signaled a downturn in the unit's effectiveness. First there was Rex Grossman and the Washington Redskins staying close in the shootout last week, and now they are proving completely incapable of stopping a Denver team which has averaged just 20 points per game since Tim Tebow took over under center.
The Denver Broncos took a 6-0 lead over the New England Patriots at Sports Authority Field on Sunday when Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow scored on a 9-yard touchdown run. Tebow capped off a 9-play, 80-yard opening drive for the Broncos with the bruising run. Tebow only threw one pass (which was complete) during the drive.
On 2nd and five from the Patriots 9-yard line, Tebow keep the ball on the zone read play. He first broke a tackle in the Broncos' backfield, then slipped past two converging New England defenders. Tebow slipped another tackle attempt near the five yard line and wasn't stopped by the last Patriots defender's ankle tackle.
So far, the Patriots have not been able to stop the rushing attack of the Broncos.
It did not take long for the Patriots to respond to the opening touchdown from Tim Tebow and the Broncos, as Tom Brady put on a more conventional display of quarterbacking, covering 79 yards with two big passes.
The first two plays from scrimmage for New England's offense weren't encouraging. Starting at the 20-yard line after a touchback, Tom Brady was forced to throw the ball away under significant pressure from the Broncos' defense, and Kevin Faulk ran hopelessly into the maws of the defensive line to set up a 3rd-and-9 situation.
No stranger to the big third down conversion, however, Tom Brady showed no fear in the pocket on the ensuing play, finding Aaron Hernandez for a first down and more, as the former Florida tight end added an extra 30 with a big run after the catch. Having contributed a strong block ahead of Hernandez on the last play, Chad Ochocinco then had his own number called, and finally found his way into the end zone for the first time this year, outrunning his defender and providing Brady with a wide open receiver and his 34th touchdown of the year.
The Patriots had no trouble with their own extra point attempt, taking the lead from Denver 7-6 very early on in the game.
The Patriots' defense, typically strong against the run, have found themselves overmatched by the ground game of the Denver Broncos, as Willis McGahee and Jeremiah Johnson set up Tim Tebow for a nine yard scramble into the end zone.
While Patriots fans may have spent the past week worrying that their empty secondary would make Tim Tebow look good through the air, the Broncos' unconventional quarterback netted just one completion as his team drove down the field highlighted by explosive runs from McGahee, who picked up a gain of 19 yards, and Johnson, whose sole carry went for 25. It would be Tebow who brought the ball into the end zone, however, as he shed a tackle in the backfield from Rob Ninkovich before sprinting forward for six points.
The Broncos would have to accept just the six, however. A low snap from former Patriot Lonie Paxton evaded the grasp of Denver's holder, leaving the extra point attempt dead in the water.
The New England Patriots Week 15 injury report is out, and for the fourth straight week safety Patrick Chung will miss game with a foot injury. Chung will more than likely be replaced by rookie Sterling Moore, who has started for the Patriots before. Also, despite practicting all week offensive lineman Dan Connolly will be inactive with a groin injury.
Other incatives for the Pats include: linebackers Dan Fletcher (thumb) and Brandon Spikes (knee), running back Shane Vereen, who be replaced by Kevin Faulk, and quarterback Ryan Mallett (healthy scratch).
Event: New England Patriots (10-3) vs. Denver Broncos (8-5) - NFL Week 15.
Date/Time: Sunday, December 18, 2011 - 4:15 p.m. EDT.
Location: Mile High Stadium (Capacity: 76,273), Denver, Colorado.
Broadcast Info: Sunday's game between the Patriots and Broncos will be aired regionally on CBS, with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms serving as the broadcast team. The game can also be heard on WBZ-FM 98.5 The Sports Hub, with Gil Santos, Gino Cappelletti and Scott Zolak serving as the broadcast team.
Last Time Out: Tom Brady threw for 257 yards and three touchdowns as the Patriots defeated the Washington Redskins, 34-27, to give New England its first ever victory at FedEx Field. Rob Gronkowski had six catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns and was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week. New England hasn't lost since Week 9.
Denver defeated the Chicago Bears, 13-10, in overtime. Matt Prater hit a 59-yard field goal with three seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 10-10 and proceeded to kick the game-winning 51-yard field goal with 8:34 left in OT. Tim Tebow threw for 236 yards - including 191 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime - and led the Broncos down the field for a 10-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas with 2:08 to play in the game before Prater's field goals.
Patriots In The Rankings: New England boasts the second-best passing attack in the NFL with 319.3 yards per game. In addition, the Patriots rank 13th in rushing yards allowed (107.3 YPG), 21st in rushing yards (105.1 YPG) and dead last (No. 32 overall) with 308.7 passing yards allowed.
Broncos In The Rankings: Denver is the league's best rushing team, averaging 156.2 yards per game on the ground. The Broncos are 17th in passing yards allowed (232.9 YPG), 21st in rushing yards allowed (124.2) and are 31st overall with 160.8 passing yards per contest.
Tom Brady And Denver: It hasn't exactly been a shining success story for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots against the Denver Broncos over the past decade. Brady is a mere 1-6 in his career against the Broncos - the only losing record he possesses against an NFL opponent. Brady is 1-4 against the Broncos in Denver.
Storyline: If you don't know what the storyline is entering this game, well, you must have been out of the country for a while. Scratch that, you must have been out of this universe. Tim Tebow has gripped the nation, as his 7-1 mark as a starting quarterback and his six-game winning streak has captured the national spotlight. How does this young man -- a publicly known devout Christian who isn't exactly considered a good passer -- continue to win football games? Experts, fans and players alike are baffled. Against all odds, Tebow continues to win. Don't try to explain, because you can't.
However, Tebow has yet to face a powerhouse franchise - one like the Patriots. Tom Brady and the Pats offense is clearly superior to that of Denver. Still, the Pats' secondary is what has caused concern this season, as it has struggled through most of the season. If Brady and the Pats score early and often, they may be able to avoid the famous Tebow fourth-quarter comeback that's almost an inevitability at this point. With Tebow, you just never know.
Players To Watch: Didn't you hear me? Tebow and Brady - enough said. These are the two men who will steal the spotlight on Sunday afternoon. Other players to watch will be Brady's favorite weapons - Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker, Deion Branch and Aaron Hernandez - while Von Miller is a key player for Denver on defense.
Prediction: As we've all learned by now, predicting losses for Tim Tebow doesn't usually pan out well. However, Tebow Time hasn't met Tom Terrific yet. If the Pats can get clicking on offense early, expect an easy win. Final Score: Patriots 34, Broncos 24.
The New England Patriots (10-3) visit the Denver Broncos (8-5) Sunday in a much anticipated Week 15 NFL match up. For those who can't attend the game in person, here's the games' television and radio information.
Are you ready New England? Tim Tebow Time is here! After a week's worth of preparation, the New England Patriots will take on the Denver Broncos and their star in the making quarterback Tebow at 4:15 p.m. EDT on Sunday afternoon at Mile High Stadium in Denver, CO (TV/Radio: CBS/WBZ-FM 98.5 The Sports Hub).
Naturally, the story has been all about Tebow this week and whether or not he can beat a truly talented team like New England. Somewhat lost in the mix is that other quarterback in the game (you know, that Tom Brady guy?). Last time I checked, Brady was still pretty good. In fact, he's one of three quarterbacks on pace to break Dan Marino's passing mark.
There are two things you can almost expect from this game - Brady should have another solid performance and Tebow will be primed and ready to lead a fourth quarter comeback. The question is, can the Patriots score enough point before the fourth quarter to avoid a letdown at the hands of Tebow? We will find out this afternoon.
The New England Patriots announced Saturday afternoon that five players have been downgraded from "Questionable" to "Out" for Sunday afternoon's game against the Denver Broncos. The five players are safety Patrick Chung (foot), linebacker Brandon Spikes (knee), right tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back/foot), running back Shane Vereen (hamstring) and wide receiver Deion Branch (groin).
Chung, Spikes and Vollmer have all missed extended time and have played a game for the Patriots since the month of November. Vereen meanwhile has been knocked out of action for the Pats since December with a hamstring injury he sustained against the Philadelphia Eagles. Branch marks the newest addition to the list of Patriots who will be missing Sunday's game.
In last Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins, Branch was taken out of the game midway after sustaining a groin injured that caused him to miss the rest of the game. To many, Branch's absence is a bit concerning because he's been able to practice on a limited basis this week with the team. However, this could be Bill Belichick being cautious about the health of his players. With Branch out, Chad Ochocinco could now see some additional work along side Wes Welker.
Kyle Arrington (foot), Dan Connolly (groin), Julian Edelman (back), Dane Fletcher (thumb), James Ihedigbo (shoulder), Devin McCourty (shoulder), Matthew Slater (shoulder), Wes Welker (knee), and Danny Woodhead (abdomen) all remain questionable for the Patriots on Sunday.
The New England Patriots released their injury report for their upcoming game against the Denver Broncos. Safety Pat Chung (Foot) and offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer (Back/Foot) are the only players listed as doubtful.
The list of questionable players was still long as of Friday afternoon:
CB Kyle Arrington (foot)
S Pat Chung (foot)
C Dan Connolly (groin)
WR Julian Edelman (back)
LB Dane Fletcher (thumb)
S James Ihedigbo (shoulder)
CB Devin McCourty (shoulder)
LB Brandon Spikes (knee)
WR Matthew Slater (shoulder)
RB Shane Vereen (hamstring)
WR Wes Welker (knee)
C Ryan Wendell (calf)
RB Danny Woodhead (abdomen)
The Broncos have also released their injury report. The following players are listed as Questionable: S David Bruton (Achilles), CB Andre Goodman (Concussion), S Brian Dawkins (Neck). The following players are listed as Probable: WR Eddie Royal (Concussion), LB Von Miller (Thumb), FB Spencer Larsen (Hamstring).
Have you heard of this Tim Tebow guy? Word around the street is that he's pretty darn good. Yes, of course you've heard of Tebow, but don't blame him for the extremely extensive coverage. Blame the media for Tebowmania.
Tim Tebow has naturally stolen the spotlight as his Denver Broncos prepare to take on the New England Patriots this Sunday, but the Broncos as a group present Bill Belichick and the Pats with what could be a very tough challenge.
The Patriots are seven-point favorites this week, despite playing a fellow division leader, on the road, in the 8-5 Denver Broncos.
The New England Patriots released their latest injury report following practice today as they prepare to play the Denver Broncos this week. Starting quarterback Tom Brady was limited for the second straight day of practice for non-injury related reasons. No reason has been given for why Brady has been limited during the past two practices. Only safety Pat Chung (Foot) and offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer (Back/Foot) missed practice today.
The list of players who were limited in practice for the Patriots on Thursday was lengthy:
CB Kyle Arrington (Foot)
QB Tom Brady (Not Injury Related)
WR Deion Branch (Groin)
C Dan Connolly (Groin)
WR Julian Edelman (Back)
LB Dane Fletcher (Thumb)
S James Ihedigbo (Shoulder)
CB Devin McCourty (Shoulder)
WR Matthew Slater (Shoulder)
LB Brandon Spikes (Knee)
RB Shane Vereen (Hamstring)
WR Wes Welker (Knee)
C Ryan Wendell (Calf)
DL Vince Wilfork (Not Injury Related)
RB Danny Woodhead (Abdomen)
Tim Tebow is the most complicated man in sports. Off the field, he is a devout Christian. On the field, he is a mediocre quarterback for three quarters and a great one in the fourth. What should fans make of America's newest sports star?
New England's Week 15 opponent, the Denver Broncos, released their injury report after practice today. All of the Broncos' offensive players were on the field but half of their secondary was limited to watching practice.
The following players did not practice for the Broncos:
WR Eddie Royal (Concussion) was limited in Denver's practice today. SLB Von Miller (Thumb) and FB Spencer Larsen (Hamstring) were not limited in practice today.
Both Brian Dawkins and Andre Goodman were injured in Denver's overtime win over the Chicago Bears last week. Dawkins was injured making a tackle during the first quarter. Goodman sustained a concussion in the third quarter while trying to tackle Bears' running back Marion Barber. David Bruton is a backup safety for Denver but makes a big impact on their special teams unit.
NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger joined WEEI's Mut and Merloni show on Wednesday to discuss the New England Patriots' matchup this weekend with the Denver Broncos.
Baldinger says the Broncos' defense deserves its fair share of credit for the team's recent success, but that Tim Tebow is not a gimmick.
"First of all, he's a great running back," Baldinger said. "If you just strip everything else aside, the guy's a 240-pound running back, and there's not that many of them in the league. And if you watch him against the Bears -- and I mean elite defenders in [Brian] Urlacher, [Lance] Briggs, [Julius] Peppers, [Charles] Tillman -- he either ran around them or through them last week. That was a great test for him, and he passed that test.
"Even though they only put up 13 points [and needed] overtime to get it, they still moved the ball throughout the game. And then when they were down 10-0 they said, 'OK, let's spread it out. We have to throw it.' And he spread the Bears out and he threw it, and he threw it pretty well. They had seven drops by wide receivers, but he extended plays, he played a style of offense that's difficult to defend. He breaks your defense down. It's more than a gimmick, it's more than a wildcat.
"But can he stay healthy taking as many hits? Because the Chicago Bears whacked him. For whatever reason, he just keeps getting up like nothing happened to him, like his armor is just made of steel. ... He's indefatigable. You get to the fourth quarter, he's the only guy that looks fresh on the field. He never wears down."
Safety Patrick Chung and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer were the only two New England Patriots who did not participate in Wednesday's practice, the team's first session this week before visiting Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
Chung, one of the New England secondary's most reliable players, has missed five straight games since injuring his right foot on Nov. 6 against the New York Giants. He compiled 55 tackles and one interception in New England's first eight games. He had been practicing with the team, but hasn't yet been cleared for games. The Patriots have fielded a make-shift secondary lately, with wide receivers Julian Edelman and Matt Slater taking a number of defensive snaps.
Vollmer has missed two straight games since suffering an injury to his right foot during New England's win against Philadelphia on Nov. 27. He has not practiced since the injury.
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