FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) —  Tom Brady’s way of dealing with Tebowmania was to silence it with a record-shattering performance.

Brady threw six touchdown passes, five in the first half, putting the New England Patriots into the AFC championship game after roughing up Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos 45-10 Saturday night.

The Patriots (14-3), winners of nine straight games, will host either Baltimore or Houston next Sunday for a spot in the Super Bowl. Saturday night’s romp snapped a three-game postseason losing streak, two of those at Gillette Stadium, and lifted the Patriots to the verge of their fifth Super Bowl appearance in 11 seasons. They’ve won three of those.

From the first snap, this was a mismatch. The Patriots were not going to make the same mistakes the Steelers made against this team.

A nation transfixed by Tebow’s play, if not his principles, tuned in Saturday to see if he had more heroics in store for Brady and company. He had nothing left as the Patriots made this must-see TV only for those who live in New England.

With New England up 42-7, the fans began their derisive Teeee-bow chants. On the next play, the Broncos quarterback was sacked for an 11-yard loss — one of five sacks for New England’s 31st-ranked defense.

And so ended one of the season’s most exciting story lines — one that began when Denver was 1-4 and made Tebow a starter. The one-time third-stringer promptly won six in a row and seven of eight, with a string of stunning comebacks. That surge ended with a 41-23 home loss to New England, and the Broncos dropped their next two, backing into the AFC West title.

But they rebounded nicely in their first playoff game since the 2005 season with the longest overtime touchdown in playoff history, an 80-yard catch and run by Demaryius Thomas against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Like everyone else on the Broncos’ offense, Thomas was invisible against the Patriots.

Denver couldn’t cover or tackle All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski, who tied a postseason mark with three touchdown catches, all in the opening half. Brady toyed with the Broncos (9-9), throwing more TD passes than Tebow had completions (three) in the first 30 minutes.

His sixth TD was to his other tight end, Aaron Hernandez, as Brady tied Steve Young and Daryle Lamonica for the most in a postseason game.

The two-time league MVP threw for 5,235 yards during the season, second in NFL history to Drew Brees’ 5,476 in 2011.


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