DENVER -- The Patriots already boasted an 18-point cushion and were searching for a knockout blow in the fourth quarter when Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil came free off the edge and nearly delivered a knockout blow of his own on quarterback Tom Brady.
Brady showed a lot of toughness by rushing back to his feet. He admitted after the game that Dumervil laid a solid shot on him.
"I was looking to throw the ball up in the slot and didn't see Elvis coming," Brady said. "He got me pretty good, but we really answered the next time we got the ball, which is important. He's a very good player -- Elvis and [linebacker] Von Miller. We talked about them all week. I thought our guys really hung in there."
So, too, did Brady. Dumervil admitted after the game he was surprised Brady hung onto the ball.
"When one of the best pass rushers in the league gets a clean shot, it's going to hurt," Brady said. "He got me pretty good. I'm sure I'll be feeling that one in the morning."
Brady finished 23-of-34 passing for 320 yards with two touchdowns. He also rushed the ball six times -- almost exclusively quarterback sneaks -- and scored once (delivering an emphatic spike after the score) and thought he got in a second time (but settled for a BenJarvus Green-Ellis touchdown run on the series after the Dumervil sack).
"I don't get in the end zone very often -- maybe once or twice per season -- so when I do, I get pretty excited," Brady said. "It's nice to score. It's usually once a year for me."
Brady seemed most pleased with the fourth-quarter score that helped put the game away, given New England's difficulties closing out games this season.
"It was a good day for us," Brady said. "It was a very emotional game. The place was really rocking early. We showed some mental toughness, playing hard for 60 minutes. We really played good football. It's what we needed."
Ron Chenoy/US Presswire
Tom Brady delivers an emphatic spike after a second-quarter rushing touchdown.