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01/15/2012 - 1:20am
Branch: Pats nearly mistake-free in win
By: DJ Bean

Patriots receiver Deion Branch, who had a 61-yard touchdown in Saturday night's 45-10 victory over the Broncos, said following the game that the past two weeks of practice paid off as the Pats limited mistakes in a dominant showing. 

"We knew what was at stake. We wanted to go out there and take care of business," Branch said. "Not saying that we didn't want to do it last year … but the biggest thing was going out there an trying to play mistake-free football. We almost did that."

Branch also said the team, which has lost three straight playoff games, was focused on not going one-and-done for a third straight postseason. The Pats were eliminated by the Ravens and Jets in the past two seasons. 

Said Branch: "I think the vibe was in the building all week. … Our playoffs started last week in practice, so we had two weeks of preparation to get prepared to play this one game, and I think we did a...

01/15/2012 - 12:24am
Brady almighty: Pats crush Tebow, Broncos

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady threw an NFL-record five first-half touchdowns, including three to Rob Gronkowski, to lead the Patriots to a 45-10 romp in the AFC divisional playoffs Saturday night at a frigid Gillette Stadium. The win sends the Patriots to their eighth AFC championship appearance, and was their first playoff win since capturing the 2007 AFC championship on their way to Super Bowl XLII, snapping a string of three straight playoff losses.

The temperature at kickoff was 24 with a wind chill of 12 above. But Brady warmed to the task, throwing TD passes of 10, 12 and 19 yards to Gronkowski, the last one coming with just five seconds left before halftime to put the Patriots up, 35-7, at the half. Brady finished 26-of-34 for a franchise playoff record 363 yards. Meanwhile, the Patriots defense swarmed Tim Tebow all night, making it miserable for the triple-option quarterback. The Patriots held Tebow to 9-of-26 for 136 yards and sacked him five...

01/14/2012 - 10:31pm
Celtics suffer fourth straight loss

It wasn't like anyone expected the Celtics to fly out of Indiana on the second night of a back-to-back with a victory, if you needed any more evidence that they have a long way to go, it was provided in a 97-83 loss. It's also worth noting that the Pacers were also on the second end of a back-to-back.

The starters got off to a much better offensive start, but it was the second unit that couldn't keep the momentum going and they had nothing left in the second half. Defensively, they let the Pacers control the paint and they couldn't keep them off the free throw line.

The one bright spot was Kevin Garnett who had a bounceback game with 21 points and six rebounds and was much more aggressive offensively. Paul Pierce also scored 21 points by getting to the free throw line and knocking down a couple of 3-pointers, but he also had six turnovers.

The Celtics have now lost four straight games and are 4-7. They play Kendrick Perkins and the Thunder...

01/14/2012 - 10:30pm
Hurricane season not over: Bruins lose
By: DJ Bean

A Jay Harrison shot off Dennis Seidenberg found its way past Tim Thomas with 90 seconds remaining in the third period Saturday night, giving the Hurricanes their first lead of the night and the only one that mattered, as they handed the Bruins a 4-2 loss at RBC Center. 

Harrison's goal, his seventh this season, broke a 2-2 tie after the Hurricanes erased two Bruins' leads. Patrice Bergeron gave the B's a 1-0 lead in the second period with his 12th goal of the season, but Patrick Dwyer tied it minutes later. Milan Lucic put the B's back on top in the third, but three straight goals from Justin Faulk, Harrison and Eric Staal (an empty-netter), gave the Hurricanes the victory.

While the Bruins have put together a dominant season, the Hurricanes, who began the night 14th in the Eastern Conference, have been an Achilles' heel for them. Saturday's loss dropped the Bruins to 0-3-0 against Carolina this season. 

For more on the Bruins,...

01/14/2012 - 9:17pm
49ers rally to top Saints

Alex Smith found Vernon Davis for a 14-yard TD with 14 seconds left to give the 49ers a 36-32 win over the Saints in a wild NFC Divisional Round contest Candlestick Park that featured four lead changes in the final 4:11 of the fourth quarter.

Smith finished with 299 yards passing and three TD tosses. Davis caught seven passes for 180 yards and two TDs.

Drew Brees connected with Jimmy Graham on a 66-yard TD with 1:48 left in the fourth quarter to give the Saints a 30-29 (Darren Sproles hauled in a Brees pass for a two-point conversion).

The 49ers capitalized on two New Orleans early turnovers (including a fumble at the San Francisco 2 from Pierre Thomas), jumping out to a second-quarter 17-0 lead as Smith connected on TD passes to Davis and Michael Crabtree and David Akers converted a 25-yard field goal. The Saints rallied to cut the halftime lead to 17-14 as Drew Brees tossed TD passes to Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston...

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