But when they returned to Gillette Stadium yesterday, the message was clear:
"[It's a] one-game season,'' linebacker Rob Ninkovich said. "You can't dwell on the Broncos; it's over with. We have to move on. We have a good team coming in here, so we have to prepare for them.''
The Patriots went to work preparing for the Baltimore Ravens, who come to town Sunday for the AFC Championship and a berth in Super Bowl XLVI on the line, and to a man they were focused on the task at hand, not Saturday's victory, which ended a three-game postseason losing streak, or their 2009 wild-card loss to the Ravens, the second game of said streak.
"Really haven't given it much thought, because it's a different season, a different team,'' cocaptain Matthew Slater said. "They have different players, we have different players. You do remember the sting of getting embarrassed at home and those guys beat us from the opening snap all the way through. So we've got to try and avoid that.''