January 11, 2012

Denver will run, and throw, against Patriots

The Pats must try to stop the Broncos' runners, but also be aware of Tim Tebow's passes.

By HOWARD ULMAN The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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It’s time for a stretch ... but it’s not a stretch to think that Broncos QB Tim Tebow can come into Foxborough on Saturday night and beat the Patriots in the playoffs.

The Associated Press

Tom Brady
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Tom Brady throws a pass during practice for the Patriots on Wednesday. Brady rallied the Patriots to a win over the Broncos last month, and will try to win again Saturday night.

The Associated Press

PATS IN THE PLAYOFFS

WHO: Denver Broncos at New England Patriots

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Gillette Stadium

TELEVISION: Channel 13

The Patriots opened the game in a 4-3 defense but relied more on the 3-4 after the Broncos ran wild.

"Four weeks ago is four weeks ago and they're a different team now," Patriots safety Patrick Chung said, "some injuries, different players. ... I honestly feel they have (improved) because they're still in the playoffs."

Against the Steelers last Sunday, the Broncos gained more than twice as many yards passing as they did rushing, picking up just 131 yards on the ground. McGahee led them with 61 yards on 19 carries.

During the regular season, he rushed for 100 or more yards in seven games, tied for the most in the NFL. He was headed for another 100-yard game until he was hurt six minutes into the third quarter on a 6-yard run against the Patriots. By that time, New England led 27-16, but Denver had lost a key player who had made the rushing game so productive.

"I think I had a big (role in) that because at the beginning of the game I was in there until I tweaked my hammy," McGahee said, "and then I was out, and it was really a difference maker for us. So I think that had a lot to do with it."

Now he's back, Tebow never left and Ball can still produce.

So the Patriots' defense can't divert its attention from the ground game just because Tebow showed last Sunday that he can throw long, accurate passes.

"They have a good mix offensively," Patriots Coach Bill Belichick said. "If you play everybody up (on the line), they'll go downfield. If you drop everybody off, they'll take what's underneath and run the ball. They do a good job of attacking where the defense is soft. They can go inside, outside, short, deep. They're well balanced."

 

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