Patriots vs. Broncos: Fan Notes from the AFC Divisional Playoffs

Which TD was this spike from? I lost track. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Wow.

I don't even want to sully the absolute dominance of last night's blowout win over the Denver Broncos with one of my lame introductions or lead-ins. There isn't much I can say about that game that would do it justice. New England just imposed its will from the opening whistle and didn't stop swinging until the game was over. If there was a rule that allowed teams to raise the white flag and call the game early, the Broncos would have stopped this one early in the 3rd quarter. We all had to listen to the media ride Tim Tebow's jock all week- but last night's game reminded everyone that actions really do speak louder than words. So let's forget about the words and get straight to recapping the action.

Besides, I have to wipe up all the drool from my computer.

Fan notes after the jump.

  • Nothing quite like switching over from the Niners game to be immediately assaulted with a Tebow feel-good story as CBS wrapped up their pregame coverage a little late. Not only that, but I missed the Jimmy Graham go-ahead score because I was under the delusion that this game would actually start on time.
  • My hands were shaking so hard at the beginning of this one I didn't understand a word of the first three notes I wrote and had to delete them. It basically looked like I just smashed the keyboard with my face.
  • Which I pretty much did - in celebration - on the Patriots' next two plays. Monster run by Hernandez and a quick TD strike to Wes Welker. THAT'S how you start it, boys.
  • Note to self for the future: head-butting a keyboard is a really stupid way to celebrate anything.
  • I had no idea Russ Hochstein was a Bronco - I love that guy. I always see his name when I rewatch Pats/Rams Superbowl highlights.
  • NINKOVITCH! Get after it! Nink had the game of his life yesterday.
  • I think Gronk killed a guy out there last night. Sorry, Quinton Carter.
  • How's that knee, Logan Mankins? Looks pretty damn good to me.
  • Absolutely nothing I could write could even begin to do the creamy goodness of that 1st quarter Rob Gronkowski touchdown justice. So I'm just going to keep quiet and worship silently.
  • Kind of nice to be up 14 points before you've even had a third down, isn't it?
  • New England came out of the box absolutely foaming at the mouth and swinging for the killshot. I don't think we've seen this team so fired up all year.
  • I'll tell you - I've really liked what I've seen from Sterling Moore all season. I think he and Kyle Arrington at corner and Devin McCourty at safety is the way to go.
  • Tommy B...where were you going with that pick??
  • Willis McGahee shouldn't be able to push 3 Patriots defenders backwards on an obvious running play.
  • When Tom Brady is on...oh sweet heavens. But when he's off, you can really tell.
  • Didn't take him long to get it back though, did it? Phenomenal protection for Tommy B as he got back into his groove thang.
  • Is anyone else terrified that Aaron Hernandez is going to fumble every time he touches the ball? I have no real rationale for it, as he's been fairly secure with the ball, but it still makes me nervous.
  • God, Brady is slow.
  • God, Gronk is just absurd.
  • Do they sell those full-length sideline coat/blanket things to the general public? That would make a really sweet winter coat.
  • I have another fun, out-of-date analogy for Tim Tebow's throwing motion: Smee from Hook pitching in the baseball scene.
  • If I was going to describe ¾ of the Foxboro faithful last night, "fat white guy with a mustache" is pretty much all I'd need to say.
  • If Deion Branch hadn't made that little stutter step on the go route off the Denver blitz, that was a touchdown. Dammit.
  • It felt like Denver either ran for 5 yards or nothing all game long, didn't it?
  • Quote from the girlfriend during the 2nd quarter: "that big black guy has a lot of armpit fat." I think she was talking about Kyle Love. That, my friends, is why I love her.
  • How many former Gators were on the field yesterday?
  • You know that the Patriots defense did a good job against Tim Tebow in the first half when I didn't hear one bit of blubbering, rumpswabbing, fawning Tebow worship from Phil Simms.
  • Really wish they'd stayed on Deion Branch after that touchdown. I absolutely love his end zone dance. Flash those pearly whites!!
  • Let's talk about that push off a little more, guys.
  • There's just something about that Brady to Branch touchdown connection that, even if only for a moment, makes me feel like this team will never lose another football game for as long as the franchise is in existence. It's as close to a pure moment as I get in my sad, sad life.
  • Does everyone else laugh as hard as I do when the camera cuts to a big defensive lineman sitting there with massive amounts of steam coming off his head? I saw Vince Wilfork steaming early towards the end of the half, and all I could think to myself was, "man - he must be really mad."
  • For the first time this year, Gronk is scoring touchdowns faster than I can come up with ways to describe them.
  • Tough to come back from 28 points down using the option attack.
  • Brandon Spikes was all over every single run play. Great discipline overall by the entire New England linebacking corps.
  • You heard it here first: when the planet is overtaken by robots and we are all living a real-life version of the Terminator movies, people are going to look back and blame it on the invention of Siri.
  • Don't feel too bad, Denver defense. I know exactly how you felt yesterday. I felt the exact same way for four straight years of high school math.
  • I honestly don't think it was just Tim Tebow and the way the Broncos offense runs; this defense flat out came to play and absolutely smothered Denver. I'd put that defensive performance up against any team left in the playoffs. The score won't be as lopsided, but it was absolutely championship defense.
  • Not only that, but that defensive performance is a great momentum and confidence builder coming into next week.
  • Are you kidding me, guys??? 42-7 early in the third quarter. Hernandez must have gone up to Gronk and Tommy B at halftime and said, "awww come on, guys! Lemme get one! No fair."
  • HA! Kyle Love is too funny. I'm fairly certain he screams out, "ROOAAAR! KY-UHL SMASH!" after every play he makes.
  • I don't quite get how Sergio Brown can be such a bad tackler at safety and such a great tackler on special teams. Isn't a tackle a tackle?
  • Usually, when the game gets like this, I start to feel bad for the opposing quarterback. Well not today. I know that Tebow had absolutely nothing to do with the amount of hype and media lovin' that he got, and I know he's a nice guy - but to silence the Tebow zealots in such a convincing manner felt pretty damn good.
  • I didn't care too much about the Stevan Ridley fumble other than I knew that that was the last we were going to see of him all night. I wanted him to get as many playoff reps in as possible.
  • I actually like the Pat Chung personal foul as well. Still playing with intensity and emotion late in the game when it's already out of hand.
  • Did I hear a "TEEEEEE-BOOOOOW! TEEEEEEE-BOOOOOOOW! TEEEEEE-BOOOOOOW!" chant from the crowd towards the end of the 3rd? Who woulda thunk it?
  • I had completely forgotten that Shaun Ellis was on this team until he completely lit up Tebow for a monster sack. Almost like a make-up for the sack Brady took in Week 15.
  • Phil Simms on the Broncos offense: "I don't think I've ever seen so many negative plays in one place in my life." He's clearly never seen me out at a singles bar.
  • New England only had five third downs through three quarters, and only six third downs all game. I think that stat is going to get swept under the rug over the next week, but to be so proficient on offense that you basically only need two downs to score 45 points is absolutely unreal.
  • How does Rob Schneider keep finding work? Now he has his own sitcom?
  • Remember all those haters that said the Patriots will be one and done again???
  • Nothing quite like going with an empty 5 wide receiver set late in the 3rd quarter followed by a 4 wide receiver set to start the 4th when you're up 32 points, is there?
  • Remember in 2007 when Tommy B would just throw it up there and Randy Moss would catch it, no matter where he was on the field or what the coverage was? That's kind of happening again - only this time with a 22 year-old tight end who dates porn stars during bye weeks.
  • It took me all season - but I finally figured out what Brandon Spikes' dance is after he makes a play: he puts a spike into the ground, and then drives it in with his massive hammer of justice. Pretty clever, Brandon. Nice little word play there.
  • You know that when Tebow drops back to pass, he's going to Demaryius Thomas. How about we double cover that guy?
  • Am I a horrible person because I took immense delight in Tebow's frustration?
  • Still waiting to see Ryan Mallett take some garbage time snaps.
  • The Patriots must have hurt about eight Broncos yesterday. Adding injury to insult.
  • How happy is Lousaka Polite right now? Talk about a free ride to the AFC Championship game.
  • 5 more records for the Patriots as a team last night. Yawn.
  • The ultimate compliment you can pay an offensive lineman is to not mention them at all. Thus, I don't have a damn thing to say about anyone on the Pats O-Line.
  • Oh Tommy. Is there anything you can't do???
  • Admirable effort by Von Miller on that Dan Connolly shove - but I think he knew he was in trouble when he pushed Matt Light as hard as he could and Light didn't move at all. I almost expected Connolly to stiff-arm Miller's head while he just took wild swings at thin air.
  • Those are kind words about Tebow, Nance - but it's a little late. Tim Tebow was made to look like the quarterback he was last night, and that's pretty much the way it is.
  • Tebow 316 turned into Tebow 136 real quick, didn't it?
  • Tommy B is 6'4" - and Gronk made him look absolutely tiny in the post-game interview.
  • Tebow may be Jesus - but Tom Brady is GOD. ‘Nuff said.
  • Bring on the Ravens!
  • Can an NFC Championship Game end with a final score of 1-0?

New England didn't just beat Denver. They kicked the crap out of them. They beat them up so bad that even Michael Irvin didn't have anything to say on Gameday Final after this one was over - which is saying something. The Patriots have now shut up the Jets - twice- and the Broncos -twice - in the same season. And they aren't even done yet.

Now is not the time to celebrate going to the AFC Championship game - we aren't Jets fans. But we'd all be remiss if we didn't take at least a little while and enjoy the sweet, sweet taste of postseason victory. It's been far too long since the Patriots have drunk from that fountain. So savor the moment, but let's all keep in mind that there's still a lot of football left to play, and that Ravens D isn't going to give up 45 points.

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