Patriots Defense Turned Up The Heat On Denver

Christine Roy
January 16, 2012 at 06:00am ET

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Now that you've had some time to think it over, read some articles and listen to the guys on the radio, how do you feel about Saturday night's win?

Brandon Spikes kept Tim Tebow in check last night. The two were teammates in Florida but Spikes got the last word with six tackles and one sack. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

I'll tell you right now, I feel a lot more comfortable with our defense than I ever thought possible. After struggling all season and ending the year as the second worst defense in the league, the Patriots put on a show Saturday night. While Tom Brady and the offense were racking up points and breaking records, the defense was making sure Denver had no shot at doing the same.

Brady threw six touchdowns and his lone interception was the only break Denver got all night. His touchdowns tied him for the NFL record of the most touchdowns in a playoff game. Five of those were in the first half which is the most in any half of a NFL postseason game. He had, yet another, night for the record books and like I said in an earlier post, he was ready to rumble. There was nothing he couldn't do last night, and he even punted - something he hadn't done since 2003.

But back to the defense. Tim Tebow was 9 of 26 Saturday night for only 136 yards. The Patriots defense held the Broncos to under 50% on third down conversions (7/18) and only gave up ten points. Denver was one for three in the red zone and shut out in both the first and fourth quarters. For a team that made Dan Orlovsky (he threw for 353 yards against the Patriots) look like a stud, they did a complete 180 last night.

Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung at the safety position seemed to work well. Vince Wilfork and the defensive line were getting to Tebow and Brandon Spikes had one heck of a game. He had six tackles and a sack and it was nice to see him making an impact again. Tebow was taken down five times during the win. Pressure still exists in this defense without Andre Carter and that is a positive sign.

With Baltimore coming to town next week, it's an emotional 2009 playoff rematch for the Patriots. This newfound swag the defense is wearing needs to hold strong. The Ray-Ray duo (Ray Rice and Ray Lewis) is strong on both sides of the ball. Joe Flacco (312/542, 57.6%, 20 TDs, 12 INTs) may be nothing to write home about but that won't make this game easy.

As Bill Belichick likes to say, "it's a one game season" and right now it sure seems like it. The Patriots are wearing a new game face and are headed to the AFC Championship game. The Ravens are the perfect opponent and I hope on Sunday we get to see just how tough our defense really is.