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AMERICAN FOOTBALL

Denver and New England in playoffs

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 December, 2012, 1:37am
 

The New England Patriots and Denver Broncos clinched American Football Conference division titles with victories over teams from Florida.

The Patriots defeated mistake-prone Miami 23-16 to claim the AFC East, while the Broncos took their winning streak to seven and claimed the NFC South with a 31-23 win over Tampa Bay.

Quarterback Tom Brady went 24-of-40 for 238 yards with one touchdown pass to Wes Welker and an interception as the Patriots capitalised on a number of miscues by the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium.

"We accomplished one of our goals this year, to be in the post-season," said New England coach Bill Belichick.

"That's good, but more importantly we just got to keep working to get better."

Belichick earned his 201st career victory, which ties him for seventh on the all-time coaching list with Dan Reeves.

Stevan Ridley rushed for a touchdown and Welker finished with 103 yards on 12 catches for New England, who clinched the division title for the 10th time in 12 years. Welker tied Jerry Rice's NFL record for most games with 10-plus catches at 17.

Peyton Manning had three touchdown passes for the Broncos, who clinched their division title for the second consecutive year and 12th in franchise history.

Manning went 27-of-38 with 242 yards and an interception and moved past Dan Marino into second place in the all-time list for completions with 4,986.

In Detroit, Andrew Luck and Donnie Avery combined on a 14-yard score in the final play of the game as the Indianapolis Colts stunned the Lions 35-33.

"Some teams find a way to win, others don't," said Indianapolis coach Bruce Arians. "Today our guys did and I couldn't be prouder of them. This was a big team win and everyone took part in it. This was a big win on the road against a quality opponent."

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