Brady puts Tebow in the shade


NFL:New England quarterback Tom Brady earned a play-off win for the first time in four seasons and said victories, not records, are his number one priority. The three-time Super Bowl winner schooled his highly-touted young opponent Tim Tebow in leading the Patriots to a 45-10 thrashing of the Denver Broncos in the AFC divisional play-off game.

"The team revolves around him," Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez said of Brady. "When he's ready, we're all ready."

Brady threw six touchdown passes, matching a play-off record and moving into third place all-time among NFL quarterbacks in the postseason. He threw for 363 total yards, a play-off record.

Brady now has the second highest number of play-off wins for an NFL quarterback (15) and can tie Joe Montana for the record next week in the AFC Championship game. The quarterback said setting records came a distant second to notching wins, especially after the embarrassment of back-to-back play-off losses on home turf.

"I have no idea what records and stuff like that. We try to go out and execute well," Brady said after the game. "It's all about winning. You lose a few playoff games, and it's a very bitter way to end the season, and it sits on your mind for quite a long time.

"For us to come out and play the way we did, have a very solid performance in the most important game of the year, is very gratifying."

The much-talked about dual between the veteran Brady and the upstart Tebow never got going. The Denver quarterback, whose public displays of Christian faith have made him a pop-culture phenomenon, had the game from hell.

Sacked five times on the night, Tebow, 24, completed only three passes in the first half. At one point Brady had more touchdown passes than Tebow had completions.

Elsewhere, Alex Smith and Vernon Davis combined in the closing seconds to hand the San Francisco 49ers a thrilling 36-32

victory over the New Orleans Saints. The 49ers put in a solid defensive display to keep their talented opponents in check for much of the game but could have surrendered the match in a sensational last five minutes.

First Darren Sproles put the Saints in front for the first time following a 44-yard catch and run, but Smith responded by charging 28 yards for a touchdown to hand his side the advantage with just over two minutes remaining.

The lead switched again as Drew Brees put the Saints in the lead but Smith again proved he had the nerve and the skill to drive his side’s play-off push as he found Davis with a 14-yard touchdown pass that sealed the result with just nine seconds on the clock.

The disciplined Saints had enjoyed a 17-3 lead at one stage but with New Orleans pushing back hard a tight finish was inevitable. The 49ers, back in the play-offs after nine years on the outside, will play the winner of tomorrow’s New York Giants versus Green Bay Packers match.