SNF: DENVER BRONCOS vs NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
DENVER BRONCOS vs NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
By: Robert L. Porter Jr.
On sunday night football we have two teams that look to be going in opposite directions. New England looks to be one of the AFC’s top teams yet again and the Denver Broncos are simply not. Brock Osweiler gets the start again as the Broncos are looking for even a little consistency from the Quarterback position.
New England gets the opening kickoff. They start with two Dion Lewis runs then an incomplete pass to Brandon Cooks and they are forced to punt. Denver’s returner muffed the punt, New England recovered it and they have a 2nd shot at it. It only takes Brady 2 plays to cash in on the turnover. Both plays were passes to Rex Burkhead, the latter was a 14 yard catch and run to make it 7-0. The Broncos receives the short kick and take the field for their first offensive snap of the game. That snap was a Play action pass from Osweiler to Emmanuel Sanders for 31 yards into Patriots territory. Denver looks to have added a few new wrinkles as they have New England on their heels on this first drive but after a Demaryius Thomas drop the drive stalled and Brandon McManus came in to kick a 39 yard field goal to make it 7-3. New England waste no time in answering Denver, Dion Lewis takes the kickoff 103 yards for a TD. With just over 6 and a half minutes gone in this one the Broncos finds themselves down 14-3.
Osweiler’s next possession started the same as the first one did, a pass to Sanders but this one was for 38 yards. C.J. Anderson breaks loose for a nice 21 yard run down to the Patriots 15 yard line but three plays for no gain brings McManus back on the field. The 33 yarder is good and the New England lead is cut to 8 points. Newly re-signed TE Martellus Bennett caught his first pass since coming back to the Patriots for 27 yards. He followed that with another for 5 yards. Denver is able to hold them on a 3rd & 1 but a Burkhead run gets it on 4th & inches. A pass to Gronkowski makes it first and goal then a short Lewis run bring an end to this wild first quarter. Brady’s bunch leads 14-6 and are knocking on the door for more.
The quarter opens with a pass interference penalty on Todd Davis that takes the Patriots down to the 2 yard line. Denver is somehow able keep them out of the end zone as Gostowski is called upon for a short kick to make it 17-6 Patriots. The Broncos offense couldn’t put anything together as they fail on 3rd down and set up to punt but the Burkhead show continues as he blocked the kick and gives his team the ball back deep in Broncos territory. Once again Denver is able to keep Brady out of the end zone and another Gostowski kick pushes the lead to 20-6. Emmanuel Sanders looks ready to play tonight as he goes over 100 yards receiving in the first half, Patriots corner Malcolm Butler is having a lot of trouble keeping up with Sanders. The combination of Sanders and Anderson moved Denver down the field but they again have to settle for a McManus field goal, this time from 36 yards out and the score is now 20-9 Patriots. Just ahead of half time Brady starts his drive for more points, some good runs by multiple running backs then a big pass down the middle to Gronk sets them up at the 11. Shortly after, Brady found Dwayne Allen for a TD to make it 27-9 with 25 seconds remaining in the 1st half. An Osweiler Kneel sends us to the break.
Denver opens the 2nd half with a little luck as an Osweiler pass is batted up into the air but Demaryius Thomas is johnny on the spot and hauls it in on a 3rd down. After Thomas started the drive with a huge catch he ends it with one. Osweiler hits him on a short inside slant to make the score 16-27. This Patriots offense is a machine, Brady drives his team 76 yards down the field in 7 plays for a TD. This score was an 8 yard TD by Dion Lewis pushing the lead back up to 18 points, 34-16. Denver is unable to get anything going on their next possession and they punt it away. It looks like Rex Burkhead and Dion Lewis has surpassed James White and Mike Gilliselee as the Patriots featured running backs. New England was all business as usual as they beat up on the Broncos the whole quarter. Its now 3 quarters in the books so we head to number 4.
The final period starts and its just more Patriots, this team has come out of the bye week looking refocused and rejuvenated. Brady continues to carve this Broncos defense up as they took just about 5 minutes off the clock in the 4th quarter on this drive and he finds James White on one of his rare touches of the night for a 6 yard TD. The score is now 41- 16. At this moment the vaunted Broncos defense has given up 92 points in the last 2 games combined and there’s still almost 9 minutes remaining in the game. In desperation mode, Osweiler is moving the ball quickly until Patrick Chung jumps in front of one a pass for an interception. With the game well in hand the Patriots go 4 & out and gives the ball back to The Broncos. With the loss all but wrapped up Denver fails to get a first down and elects to just punt it. Brian Hoyer is now in the game, the Patriots run the clock out and head home with another win.
STARS OF THE GAME
Tom Brady – 25/34 266 yards 3 TDs
Rex Burkhead – 63 total yards 1 TD, 1 blocked punt.
Dion Lewis – rushing yards 1 TD, 103 yard kick return 1 TD
Brandin Cooks – 6 rec 74 yards
Rob Gronkowski – 4 rec 74 yards
Emmanuel Sanders – 6 rec 137 yards
Demaryuis Thomas – 5 rec 44 yards 1 TD
PATRIOTS 41 – BRONCOS 16