Tom Brady watched the resurgent Broncos score on 23 victory to clinch the AFC East for the ninth time in 11 years.

Brady threw for 320 yards with two touchdowns and ran in another score in the sixth straight win for New England (11-3), which trailed 16-7 early in the second quarter before taking control.

Aaron Hernandez had game-highs of nine receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown, and the Patriots' defense overcame a slow start and an injury to Andre Carter to silence the streaking Broncos.

Tim Tebow, the undeniable catalyst behind the Broncos' 7-1 run, had two rushing TDs and threw for 194 yards on 11-of-22 passing.

But there was had no fourth-quarter magic that has become commonplace over the past two months in Denver (8-6), which still leads the AFC West by a game thanks to the Raiders losing to the Lions on Sunday.