No late-game heroics for Tebow in 41-23 loss

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 18, 2011
The Denver Broncos faithful are usually riveted to their seats late in the fourth quarter, anxiously waiting to see what magical finish Tim Tebow has up his sleeve. This time, there was no last-minute rally. This time, when Tebow took the field late in the game, the fans were long gone and the outcome long decided. No Tebow Time. Now, it's time to regroup. The New England Patriots took advantage of three second-quarter turnovers in a 41-23 win on Sunday that allowed them to clinch the AFC East. And while this loss snapped a six-game winning streak by the Broncos (8-6), they still retain their lead in the AFC West courtesy of Detroit's comeback victory in Oakland. Still, with their first loss since Oct. 30, the Broncos face a tougher path to the playoffs, with a trip to Buffalo next weekend and then a season finale against Kansas City, which ended Green Bay's 19-game winning streak Sunday behind Kyle Orton, the player Tebow supplanted in Denver. ''We showed today that we're not ready to go to the playoffs and make a push,'' Champ Bailey said. ''We've got to get better and we only have two or three weeks to do it. If we don't, then we'll be sitting home in the playoffs.'' It was a wake-up call for this team, which has been so reliant on late-game heroics. But Brady made sure there wasn't any late dramatics for Tebow and the Broncos. Brady put this game out of reach with an efficient and effective performance, completing 23 of 34 passes for 320 yards and two scores. He also ran for another. The Broncos even took away his security blanket in tight end Rob Gronkowski. No matter, Brady turned to his other tight end, Aaron Hernandez, who had a huge game as he set career highs in catches (nine) and yards (129). ''When you don't play smart against a team like that, they take advantage of you,'' rookie safety Quinton Carter said. ''When you make those mistakes against a team of that caliber, and a quarterback like that, with the history like that and the coaches they have, you won't win. Simple as that. As close as it was, we played horrible.'' The Broncos got off to a quick start, too. That's been a rarity since Tebow stepped under center; the Broncos have scored just six times in 49 first-half possessions since Tebow took over. But they converted on three straight drives Sunday, keeping up with the high-scoring Patriots (11-3). Then, the turnovers hit. Up 16-14, Denver turned the ball over three times, leading to 13 points by the Patriots. That stretch pretty much ended any shot of Tebow coming through at crunch time. The Broncos had simply dug themselves too deep of deficit. ''Turnovers killed us,'' said running back Lance Ball, who had one of the fumbles in the second quarter. ''Should've held onto it.'' Returner Quan Cosby was kicking himself as well after the game. Cosby had a costly fumble just before halftime, when he ran up to field a punt only to have it clang off his hands. The Patriots recovered and Stephen Gostkowski nailed a 34-yard field goal as the first half expired. ''Man, it was one of those nights,'' Cosby said. ''Fortunately, we're still in the hunt. Fortunately, we can correct it. Tomorrow is a new day. I think that's the attitude everyone is going to take, especially me. Get back to work because we still have a lot of our goals in store and we're ready to go after them.'' That was Tebow's thoughts as well. ''I definitely feel we're all right,'' he said. ''We've got two big games. We'll prepare extremely hard. We're excited where we're at, we're going to stay positive and stay motivated.'' It was a solid performance for Tebow in spite of the loss. He made plays with his feet, rushing for 93 yards, and threw for another 194. But he also had a costly fumble in the second quarter. ''We definitely have to be consistent. That's something we can improve on,'' Tebow said. ''If we don't have those turnovers, we can have that balance of run-pass and hopefully keep them on their heels a little bit. It's something we have to improve on.'' After the game, Tebow met up with Brady and midfield, the two exchange a few words. ''He was very complimentary. He was very nice,'' Tebow said of his conversation with Brady. ''What a great quarterback. What a class act. For a lot of young quarterbacks, he does a lot of things to look up to and emulate.'' Notes: Broncos RB Willis McGahee finished with 70 yards and is now 10 shy of 1,000 for the season. ... McGahee was hobbled in the game by a left leg injury. ... Ball's 32-yard TD run was the first rushing score of his career. ... Unblocked around the end, DE Elvis Dumervil had a bone-crunching sack of Brady late in the game. ''He got me pretty good,'' Brady said.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Penguins win Stanley Cup Final Game 1 despite going 37 minutes without a shot on goal

NHL won’t participate in 2018 Winter Olympics, cites hypocritical reason for not playing

NFLPA to rookies: Be like Gronkowski, Beckham Jr.

Tiger Woods arrested on DUI charges

Bryce Alford defends Lonzo Ball: He 'doesn't deserve' criticism

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Clippers ‘overwhelming favorite’ to keep Chris Paul

Giants owner: Signing Kaepernick would anger fans

Mike Trout to undergo MRI after suffering thumb injury

Report: ‘Multiple’ teams open to giving Nerlens Noel max contract

John Wall: Bench was cause of Wizards’ ‘downfall’

Arum says Pacquiao would fight McGregor if Mayweather won't

The 'Hope your Cup runneth over this Memorial Day' quiz

Meet your Stanley Cup finalists: Nashville Predators

Getaway Day: There's a murderer's row in the NL West

Journey to the Stanley Cup Final: Pittsburgh Penguins

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'Hope your Cup runneth over this Memorial Day' quiz

Meet your Stanley Cup finalists: Nashville Predators

Getaway Day: There's a murderer's row in the NL West

Journey to the Stanley Cup Final: Pittsburgh Penguins

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker