Brady sets mark: 5 first-half TD passes

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots unleashed an aerial assault on the NFL record book -- and the Denver Broncos -- during the first half of Saturday night’s Divisional round battle at Gillette Stadium.

Quarterback Tom Brady tossed an NFL record five first-half touchdown passes, three of which were hauled in by tight end Rob Gronkowski, matching another NFL postseason record as New England opened a 35-7 lead.

Brady completed touchdown passes to Wes Welker (7 yards), Deion Branch (61), and Gronkowski (10, 12, 19). Along the way, he passed Dan Marino in both career postseason touchdowns and yardage. Brady now sits third in touchdowns (35 overall) and fifth in career postseason passing yardage.

Brady was 18 of 25 for 246 yards (his only blemish an interception that aided the Broncos’ lone scoring drive). Gronkowski caught eight passes on 10 targets for 97 yards and three scores. He is the 17th player in NFL history to catch three touchdown passes in a postseason game, but only the second tight end.