[Editor's Note: We'll be finishing our Broncos-Patriots review this afternoon, then moving into more on the Ravens and the AFC Championship game coverage starting this evening and carrying through Sunday.]
Grading the Patriots' offensive performance from the Patriots' 45-10 victory over the Denver Broncos in the Divisional Playoffs:
Tom Brady started the game 8-8 for two touchdowns. He finished the game by tying an NFL postseason record with six touchdown passes on 26/34 passing. Aside from one small stretch in the beginning of the second quarter, Brady was nearly perfect, and without a doubt, delivered his best passing game of the season.
Rob Gronkowski had huge numbers: 10 catches for 145 yards and three touchdowns. Wes Welker, Deion Branch, and Aaron Hernandez all had productive games while scoring their own respective touchdowns. The Patriots offense operated out of the no huddle most of the game and the Patriots' offensive line was superb in keeping quarterback Tom Brady upright.
The Patriots, overall, ran the ball effectively against the Broncos. They used Aaron Hernandez as a halfback when operating out of the no-huddle, and he ran for 61 yards on 5 carries. Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead had some minor production (although Ridley lost a fumble), and while BenJarvus Green-Ellis had just 27 yards on 13 carries, he broke some tackles and generally did what was asked.
Overall, not a great game from the rushing offense, but when the passing attack was as stellar as it was on Saturday, there's no reason to really complain.
Overall Offensive Grade: A
For most of the game, the Patriots were unstoppable on offense. They came out strong, they finished strong, they never let their foot off the gas. While the Patriots didn't dominate the time of possession, they didn't need to. The defense played well, but the offense put up so many points so quickly, that it wouldn't have even mattered if the defense had struggled.