Tebow suffered injuries to ribs, chest, lungs

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Tebow suffered injuries to ribs, chest, lungs

From Comcast SportsNet

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -- Tim Tebow needs more R&R than anyone thought. The Broncos quarterback played through rib, lung and chest injuries he sustained in Denver's 45-10 loss at New England in the AFC divisional playoffs last weekend. He won't need surgery, is expected to make a full recovery with some down time and his offseason training program shouldn't be affected in any way. ESPN first reported Wednesday that Tebow got hurt on a third-quarter tackle, then had trouble sleeping because of the pain and underwent an MRI on his chest Monday. Team spokesman Patrick Smyth said that while he couldn't confirm the exact extent or nature of the injuries due to team policy, he acknowledged that Tebow finished the game in considerable pain. Backup Brady Quinn quickly got ready to go into the game after Tebow was hit by Vince Wilfork and Rob Ninkovich, but Tebow stayed in and finished up. "It's just the physicality of playing football. Sometimes you get hit and it can hurt a little bit. But, I wanted to play a lot of the game," Tebow said after the game. The outcome had long been decided by the time Tebow got hurt. "I just wanted to show character. You just continue to fight and it doesn't change who you are, how you play, how you go out there, you should be the same at all times," Tebow said. "That's what I wanted to show, it didn't matter if it was the first play or the last play or you were down by 42. I was going to be the same player and I was still going to give everything I have. Because that's all I have to give." Tebow wasn't in the locker room during a one-hour media window on Sunday, emerging with a smile from the trainer's room as reporters were filing out as the players streamed to their end-of-season meeting with coach John Fox. On Monday, Broncos boss John Elway declared Tebow the incumbent starting QB entering training camp next summer and reiterated his plan to work with him during the offseason to help polish his passing game. Tebow went 8-5 as the Broncos starter after supplanting Kyle Orton following a 1-4 start. He engineered a six-game winning streak that included four straight fourth-quarter comebacks that sent Tebowmania into full pitch. He faded at the end, losing his last three starts, including one to the Kansas City Chiefs and Orton, but the Broncos backed into the playoffs nevertheless at 8-8 as champions of the middling AFC West. Tebow had the best game of his pro career in the wild card round, when he averaged 31.6 yards per completion, the best in the NFL in 40 years, and threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime for a 29-23 win over heavily favored Pittsburgh and the league's No. 1 defense. That was Denver's first playoff game in six seasons. While the Broncos brass was delighted at returning to the postseason party a year after a franchise-worst 4-12 season, they said the 35-point loss to the Patriots showed just how far they need to go to return to the AFC's upper echelon. Tebow, who didn't get the first-team snaps during training camp or for the first month of the season, realizes he has a long way to go himself. "Just work and improve, fundamentals, understanding defenses, footwork, everything," he said. Tebow might also have to get accustomed to a new offensive coordinator in 2012. Mike McCoy has interviewed for head coaching vacancies in Miami and Oakland. McCoy is a hot commodity after retooling Denver's offense midstream to capitalize on Tebow's unique skill set. He implemented the read-option that turned the NFL on its ear at midseason and resulted in the Broncos soaring to the top of the league in rushing. Tebow ran for 660 yards, most by a quarterback in team history, in the regular season and another 63 in the playoffs, leading to concerns among some that he was exposing himself to injury. But Tebow noted that he actually takes glancing blows, if any, from smaller defenders while on the run, making him less vulnerable than when he stays in the pocket and might get sandwiched by 300-pound linemen. He took every snap for Denver after replacing Orton at halftime Oct. 9 against San Diego. Tebow ran for six TDs in the regular season and one in the playoffs while averaging 5.3 yards a carry. But he completed just 46.5 percent of his passes last season and just 40.4 percent in the playoffs. "We're always looking for balance," Elway said. "Balance is what we won Super Bowls with." Elway and Tebow are eager to see what a difference an offseason can make -- they didn't have that luxury last year during the NFL lockout. "I feel like I've improved a lot in a lot of different forms of my game," Tebow said. "And I continue to improve and continue to get a lot better, and I believe I can, and I'm looking forward to putting in work."

Kirk Cousins watches Kyle Shanahan's offense carve up Packers

Kirk Cousins watches Kyle Shanahan's offense carve up Packers

Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. His uncertain status has led to speculation presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan will be interested in acquiring him in the offseason.

On Sunday, Cousins got a first-hand look at his former coach’s offense.

Cousins posted a photo on Instagram from the stands at the Georgia Dome, where the Atlanta Falcons and their high-octane offense blasted the Green Bay Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship game.

Cousins wrote the caption, “Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!”

Washington finished third in the NFC East and out of the playoffs with an 8-7-1 record.

Shanahan, the Falcons’ offensive coordinator, coached Cousins for the first two seasons of his NFL career with Washington on the staff of his father, Mike Shanahan. Cousins appeared in just eight games with four starts in 2012 and ’13.

Cousins' career has taken off in the past two seasons while starting all 32 regular-season games. He completed 67 percent of his passes this season with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and a passer rating of 97.2.

Washington placed the franchise tag on Cousins this season at nearly $20 million. He franchise tag is expected to be approximately $24 million in 2017.

If Washington places the non-exclusive franchise tag on Cousins, a team could sign him to an offer sheet at the cost of two first-round draft picks or negotiate a trade with Washington for a lesser amount.

Patriots pummel Pittsburgh, return to Super Bowl to face Falcons

Patriots pummel Pittsburgh, return to Super Bowl to face Falcons

BOX SCORE

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Tom Brady redemption tour is headed to the Super Bowl.

After beginning the 2016 season suspended for four games for his role in the "Deflategate" scandal, the New England quarterback relentlessly carried the Patriots to an unprecedented ninth appearance in the title game, and his seventh. Brady threw for a franchise playoff-best 384 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-17 rout of the helpless Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in New England's seventh consecutive AFC championship game.

The Patriots are early 3-point favorites heading to face Atlanta in two weeks in Houston, seeking their fifth NFL title with Brady at quarterback and Bill Belichick as coach. Belichick's seventh appearance in a Super Bowl will be a record for a head coach.

Brady was banned by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell when New England (16-2) went 3-1 to open the schedule.

Since his return in Week 5, the only defeat came at home to Seattle, and Brady, 39, had one of the best seasons of a Hall of Fame-caliber career. He punctuated that in dreary weather similar to the 2014 conference title game that precipitated the deflated footballs investigation by flattening Pittsburgh's secondary.

Chris Hogan was his main weapon. The previously unheralded receiver found open spaces everywhere on the field against a leaky secondary. Hogan caught nine balls for 180 yards and two scores.

Top wideout Julian Edelman added eight receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown as Brady tied Joe Montana's playoff record with nine three-TD passing performances. Brady also had his 11th 300-yard postseason game, extending his NFL record, completing 32 of 42 throws.

Pittsburgh (13-6) lost star running back Le'Veon Bell late in the first quarter to a groin injury. It didn't seem to matter much in a record 16th conference title match for the Steelers, who made mistakes in every facet of the game. The franchise that has won the most Super Bowls, six, and the most postseason games, 36, never seemed likely to challenge in the misty rain.

Hogan's second touchdown came on a flea-flicker and he easily beat safety Mike Mitchell to the corner of the end zone. At that point, Hogan had seven catches for 117 yards and the first multi-touchdown game of his four-year career.

His first score made it 10-0 and came after Brady could have taken a nap before throwing, a common occurrence against a nonexistent pass rush. Hogan was all alone in the back of the end zone for the 16-yard score.

Pittsburgh had drawn to 10-6 on DeAngelo Williams' 5-yard run to cap an 84-yard drive. Veteran Williams is a nice security blanket in the backfield, though he's no Bell these days.

Still, he contributed on a 70-yard drive toward the end of the second quarter that appeared to be capped by Jesse James' TD reception. But video review showed James down at the 1, and the Steelers couldn't get into the end zone, Chris Boswell connecting for a 23-yard field goal.

The Steelers never threatened to get back into it.LeGarrette Blount punctuated the romp with a bruising 18-yard run on which he carried nearly the entire Pittsburgh defense with him. He then scored from the 1.

By the end, the crowd was chanting "Where is Roger?" and celebrating yet another Super Bowl trip for the Patriots.

BIG LEG:

Stephen Gostkowski's 31-yard field goal to open the scoring set a franchise record with 27, surpassing Adam Vinatieri's 26. Gostkowski is fourth all-time. He made a 47-yarder in the third quarter, a 26-yarder in the fourth, but he missed an extra point.

Boswell, who set an NFL mark with six field goals in the Steelers' 18-16 win at Kansas City last week, missed an extra point wide left and made a 23-yard kick.

INJURIES:

Steelers: Bell's early departure left him with 20 yards on six carries and no receptions.

Patriots: DB Nate Ebner left with a head injury.

UP NEXT:

After winning the AFC East with the conference's top record, New England defeated the Texans 34-16 and the Steelers to reach the Super Bowl. They will take on Atlanta, which beat Green Bay 44-21 for the NFC crown. Super Bowl 51 will be in Houston on Feb. 5; New England won the 2002 and 2005 Super Bowls after beating Pittsburgh for the AFC championship.