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Highs and Lows: Tebow Contained

BOSTON (CBS) - WBZ-TV's Levan Reid breaks down the Patriots 41-23 win over the Denver Broncos quarter-by-quarter.

Fourth Quarter/Final Thoughts

The Patriots start to this game was terrible.  You can't give up 218 yards in one quarter and expect to win.  But what happened from there is what makes the Patriots who they are.  The Broncos made mistakes and New England capitalized.

Every fumble that Denver had in the second quarter, the Pats put points on the board.  They executed their game plan today, getting the ball to Aaron Hernandez when the defense was slanted to Rob Gronkowski.  They used Chad Ochocinco in the slot and used Wes Welker on the post.

After a defensive mess, the Pats D settled in and played a pretty good game.  They got after Tebow and chased him up and down the field.

There were concerns of course. Stopping the run was a huge problem to start.  The Pats have got to get better at that.  They have lost Andre Carter for the season, and he was their best pass-rusher. High marks for Mark Anderson, who filled that void for this game. But the Patriots may need him, or newly signed Eric Moore, to really step up going forward.

The Lows

- Devin McCourty had a crucial mistake in the fourth.  Third and eighteen and Devin lost his man and the Bronco got a first down.  McCourty and that secondary have to get better if the Pats plan on going anywhere.

- The Pats offense ran the ball well at the end of the game, but they need to get that running production from the beginning.  It was good to see them move the chains by running the rock in the fourth quarter though. Good work by Stevan Ridley, who finished the game with a team-high 65 rushing yards.

Overall it was a good win for the Pats.  They get into the playoffs and clinch the AFC East.  If they win out, the worst they could do is a 2 seed, which would mean they get a bye.

Third Quarter

The Highs

- The Patriots defense held the Broncos on their first possession of the quarter. Tebow was running around and keeping plays alive, but the Pats stayed in their lanes. Mark Anderson had a big sack to end the drive.

- The Pats make the most of their second possession of the quarter and get on the board.  BenJarvus Green-Ellis with a 21-yard reception, and then they finish it off with a 10-yard Danny Woodhead dash for his first touchdown of the season.

The Lows

-  The Pats got the ball to start the quarter and were a bit shaky.  They get helped by an illegal hands to the face call.  Stevan Ridley has a good run, but they end up turning the ball over on downs.  Brady was sacked twice in this sequence;  once by Von Miller and then again by Quinton Carter.

34-16 New England after three....

Second Quarter

The Highs

- First possession of the quarter for the Patriots and they move the ball.  A great diving catch by Wes Welker that puts the ball at the one, and the drive ends with a one-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Aaron Hernandez, his sixth touchdown catch of the season.

- On Denver's second possession of the quarter, they fumble the ball on their very first play and the Pats recover.  Ron Brace caused it and Rob Ninkovich recovers. Pats turn it into three points.

- Denver's third possession of the quarter and they fumble again.  Mark Anderson with the hit on Tebow, who fumbles the ball and Anderson recovers it. Patriots would make the most of it too. Hernandez comes up with a huge play on fourth down for 25 yards and Brady finishes the deal with a one-yard QB sneak. #12 celebrates with a Gronk-like spike.  That's 17 unanswered points for the Pats.

- Denver's fourth possession of the quarter and they go three and out.  Bad set of plays as they pass the ball twice and run once.  They only take 12 seconds off the clock and gives the Pats a chance to score.

- Pats get the ball in the for the last possession of the half and they end up punting. But on the punt, the Bronco fumble and the Pats get the ball back and kick a field goal to end the half. It was the craziest half of football I have ever seen...

The Lows

- The Broncos open the quarter by putting three points on the board.  Matt Prater with a 26-yard field goal.  At that point, the Broncos had put points on the board in every possession.

Patriots lead 24-16 at the half

First Quarter

The Highs

- On their first possession the Patriots get on the board.  Big third down play where Tom Brady hits Aaron Hernandez for 46 yards.  The drive ends with a 33 yard touchdown pass to Chad Ochocinco. Pats come out throwing and it pays off.

The Lows

- The Broncos get the ball first and they run the ball down the field and eat up yardage.  Tim Tebow breaks a tackle and runs the ball in from 8 yards out.  The Broncos get on the board.  They miss the extra point.  Nine plays on that drive and the Broncos run it eight times.

Read: Pats-Broncos Predictions

- On the Broncos second possession they score again.  The Pats defense may be the worst defense I have ever seen.  Big yardage, a run for 29, a pass for 22 and a run to the end zone for 32.  The Patriots can't stop them at all right now. Two drives for the Broncos offense and 133 rushing yards.

- On the Second possession for the Pats offense they get nothing.  This could be a big problem because the defense is playing catch up the whole game.

- Andre Carter, on what would be the last play of the quarter gets hurt.  Looks like a bad leg injury because they have to bring out the cart to take him off the field.  Not good for the already struggling New England D.

- Broncos have 218 total yards after the first quarter.

Broncos up 13 to 7 after one

Tune in to the Patriots-Broncos game Sunday on WBZ-TV and 98.5 The Sports Hub at 4:15pm. After the game, tune in to The Postgame Show on 98.5 and Patriots Fifth Quarter on MyTV38.

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