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Patriots Vs. Broncos: New England Strikes First, Leads 7-0 After Opening Drive

The New England Patriots wasted no time whatsoever in their first game of the 2012 NFL playoffs. After receiving the ball to begin their AFC Divisional Round game against the Denver Broncos, the Patriots drove 80 yards in just over two minutes to take a 7-0 lead.

Aaron Hernandez made the big play on the drive, lining up in the backfield and running for 43 yards on a rare carry. But the touchdown that ended the drive was a familiar sight for Patriots fans: Tom Brady throwing a short pass to Wes Welker.

Brady's touchdown pass extended his streak of postseason games with a touchdown to 18, two shy of the NFL record held by Brett Favre. And, more importantly, it put Tim Tebow's Broncos in an early hole.

The Broncos didn't respond particularly well: though Tebow and Willis McGahee both ran for first downs on their first drive, Tebow was hit from behind and fumbled, giving the Patriots the ball near midfield.

For more New England Patriots coverage, visit our team page and blog, Pats Pulpit. Also, for additional 2012 NFL Playoffs coverage, follow along with our stream. Visit SB Nation Denver and Mile High Report for Broncos news.