The New England Patriots beat the Denver Broncos in a very cold, windy, and special night in Gillette Stadium on Sunday Night Football.
This game was building all week as Manning vs Brady and as a big game, and boy did it live up the hype.
The game started off horribly for the New England Patriots, who trailed Denver at half, 24 – 0.
On the first offensive possession of the game the Patriots were moving the ball well but Stevan Ridley fumbled the ball away and Von Miller recovered it and took it back for a Denver touchdown. Things only got worse from there when Tom Brady on the very next possession was stripped sack and Denver recovered it and had the ball at their 10 yard line. Knowshon Moreno ran in the touchdown to put Denver up 14 – 0. The Pats were not done with fumbling either because LeGarrette Blount would fumbled it away and give Denver the ball at the 44 yard line. Yes, 3 straight possessions ended with the Patriots fumbling on offense, all lead to points. The Pats defense held strong and Denver settled for a field goal to make it 17 – 0 close to the end of the first quarter.
Early in the 2nd the Pats would turn it over on downs and Denver would march it up the field for a touchdown pass from Peyton Manning to tight end Jacob Tamme, and they would take that 24 – 0 lead to halftime.
I will be honest with you, I thought the game was over because New England was down 24 – 0 to the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning. I was ready to watch Finding Bigfoot.
Then the second half happened.
Tom Brady came out in the 3rd quarter on fire and like a man on a mission, a very big mission. If Tom Brady could pull this off he would make history. It would be New England’s biggest comeback ever for the franchise and against Peyton Manning of all people. Manning was 52 – 0 when he was winning by 22 points or more. The odds were stacked against the 6th round draft pick out of Michigan that nobody wanted.
Brady would go to work to start the 3rd relying on rookie Kenbrell Thompkins and hit Gronk once for a big 33 yard play. Brady would throw a td strike to Julian Edelman to make the game 24 – 7, early 3rd.
Peyton Manning would hit RB Montee Ball when Dane Fletcher caused a big fumble and Brandon Spikes recovered it and New England had it again inside of Denver’s 30 yard line.
Brandon Bolden would have a lot of impact on this drive for New England and he would end it with a 1 yard touchdown run. New England is now down by 10, 24 – 14 with 5:04 left in the 3rd.
New England’s defense would hold and force the Broncos to punt the ball with over 2 minutes left in the 3rd. Pats have the ball and Brady hit Edelman for a 43 yard gain. Two plays later, Brady hit Gronk for a 6 yard touchdown. That was Brady’s 350th career touchdown pass and he became the 5th NFL player to reach that milestone.
To start the 4th, rookie Logan Ryan picked off Peyton Manning on a pass intended for Eric Decker and New England has the ball right back in position to score again.
Two plays later, Brady hit Edelman for an 11 yard touchdown and New England now has the lead, 28 – 24 with over 13 minutes to play. The Patriots scored 31 unanswered points before Denver finally struck back late in the 4th.
The Pats would lead a long drive that would end in a field goal to make the score 31 – 28 with just over 7 minutes left. Peyton Manning and the Broncos were not going away without a fight in the second half though, Manning lead his team right up the field and hit a big touchdown to Demaryius Thomas, and just like that the game is tied, 31 – 31 with 3 minutes to play.
The Patriots and Broncos would trade punts for the remainder of the game and SNF went to overtime.
Denver would get in New England territory in overtime but Eric Decker was called for pass interference and pushed the offense back and Denver would have to punt.
For the next 11 minutes the two teams would take turns punting to each other. Then with just over 3 minutes left, the Pats would punt and Denver special teamer Tony Carter was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The ball would roll into Carter and the Pats jumped on it recovering it at the 13 yard line. Tom Brady would center the ball for Stephen Gostkowski, who connected on a 31 yard field goal attempt to win in overtime.
The comeback was complete and the Patriots won 34 – 31.
The Patriots trailed at halftime 24 – 0 to the Broncos and Peyton Manning. The Patriots had one of the worst first half of football I have seen in a very long time. The Patriots had fumbling problems and the game looked as if it was heading out of control. But Tom Brady and the Patriots didn’t give up and came out on fire on both sides of the ball.
What Tom Brady did in the second half with the weapons he has is nothing short of INCREDIBLE. Tom Brady’s legend continued to grow in this game and added another reason to the long list of why he is the best to do it right now, and maybe ever.
Peyton Manning has never lost when leading by 22 points or more and New England has never overcame a deficit of this magnitude until tonight.
The Patriots remain undefeated at home and special things continue to happen for New England inside of Gillette Stadium. New England found another way to win.
I didn’t like that New England couldn’t score a TD to put the game away mid – way through the 4th and I didn’t like how the offense had no traction in overtime, but neither did Denver, and I attribute a lot of it to the wind, and cold, but both defenses did step up, not to take anything away from them.
The Patriots defense should get A LOT of the credit for this win as well. The Pats defense gave up ONE touchdown to Peyton Manning in the second half. Just one touchdown in the second half to Peyton Manning, one of the best Quarterbacks in the NFL right now and to the powerful, first place Broncos offense. That is impressive in its own right. The defense I thought would surely break in overtime, didn’t. They held Manning in overtime and forced punt after punt until finally New England caught a break on a special teams play.
The defense gave up 224 yards to Knowshon Moreno and a touchdown. They were not good against the run but New England was all in against the pass, they were willing to give up rushing yards, but I doubt that much. That clearly needs to be fixed but they did have a good game overall.
They brought pressure against Manning and got some hits on him and a sack. Maybe not a ton but enough to disrupt him and you have to love seeing New England’s blitzes and pressure getting to Peyton Manning. The Pats defense would have 1 sack, 1 forced fumble and 1 interception.
The difference at the end was simple, New England found a way to win in the cold and Denver didn’t. A win is a win and this one feels good because of the big comeback against Peyton Manning and just beating him and the Broncos in general always feels good. It is a regular season game but it was the best one this season between two great Quarterbacks and it lived up to the hype. Now I don’t wanna see the Broncos again and maybe we can slip through the postseason without meeting them again, but what a great game!
Bill Belichick also made a genius move. In overtime the Pats won the coin toss and deferred it to use the wind against Denver. It worked out very well for New England.
Both teams combined 11 turnovers in this game!
On defense, Aqib Talib, Logan Ryan, Kyle Arrington, Duron Harmon, Jamie Collins, Brandon Spikes, and Dane Fletcher had a great day on defense.
Here is a great stat for all you Pats out there to show how good this defense did against the pass.
Peyton Manning was 19/36 for 150 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Peyton Manning’s 150 yards passing was his lowest in the 26 regular season games he’s played for Denver.
Also, Decker, Welker, and Thomas combined for 9 catches, 75 yards, and 1 touchdown.
Compare that to Julian Edelman’s complete numbers: 9 catches, 110 yards, and 2 touchdowns.
QB Tom Brady:34/50 344 yards 3 touchdowns
RB Brandon Bolde: 13 attempts rushing 58 yards 1 touchdown
WR Julian Edelman: 9 receptions 110 yards 2 touchdowns
TE Rob Gronkowski: 7 receptions 90 yards 1 touchdowns
S Duron Harmon: 7 tackles
LB Dane Fletcher: 1 forced fumble
LB Brandon Spikes: 1 FR
CB Logan Ryan: 1 interception
CB Aqib Talib: Shutdown of D. Thomas most of the game!
Game Ball: QB Tom Brady
He led the comeback, he threw the touchdowns, and he didn’t give up. Tom Brady was great in the second half with over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is the leader of the team and with a bunch of guys most SNF watchers don’t even know, he won a big game with them.