The Denver Broncos lost their second game of the season as they fell to the New England Patriots in overtime 34-31. The return of Wes Welker to Foxborough did not go very well for the Broncos. This contest was marred by turnovers, penalties, injuries and inconsistencies.
The Broncos built a 24-0 lead in the first half but allowed the Patriots to score 21 points in the third quarter. This was the most points allowed by the Broncos defense in any quarter this season.
After the game Peyton Manning talked about the second-half collapse. “Obviously, the momentum changed. We turned [the ball] over, gave them some momentum. It's hard when you give them a short field and put your defense in a bind. It’s difficult to overcome.”
The Broncos were able to build that lead in the first half by feeding Knowshon Moreno the rock. Moreno had over 100 yards rushing by halftime.
He finished the game with a career-high 37 carries and a career-high 224 yards rushing. His big game was the third largest in team history behind Mike Anderson (251 yards, 2000) and Clinton Portis (228 yards, 2002).
Moreno was dominant, but he did get a little banged up in overtime. He was spotted on crutches after the game and was in a walking boot due to an ankle injury. It will be interesting to see going forward how the Broncos handle their running back situation.
Manning didn’t do much on Sunday night against the Patriots, and he finished with a season-low 150 yards passing. He also had a season-low 52.8 completion percentage and 4.2 yards per attempt against the Patriots.
The passing game didn’t account for much, and none of the receivers stood out because of it. The team’s leading receiver was actually reserve tight end Jacob Tamme. He was filling in for an injured Julius Thomas.
The defense looked dominant in the first half of the game, but it was beat handily in the second half.
Von Miller had a fantastic game and finally looked like the player he used to be. He finished the game with eight tackles (six solo), two sacks, two tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He also scored a 60-yard touchdown on a fumble return in the first quarter against the Patriots.
While Miller had an outstanding day, there were a few other defenders who got picked on by Tom Brady. The Patriots didn’t do much on the ground, finishing the game with 116 rushing yards (3.7 average) on Sunday night. However, they were able to move the ball through the air. Brady finished the game with 324 yards passing and three touchdowns.
Manning talked about learning from this loss after the game.
"You’ll study the film. It’s disappointing – certainly you have a chance to beat a good team at their place. I still felt like we had a chance there getting the ball there at the very end. I thought we were going to have the ball last and that we were either going to score to win the game or I guess it could have ended in a tie. I hated the way that ended and not getting a chance there to get our hands on the ball. We had two good drives in overtime: [we] got down there twice and I can’t remember if that was a pass interference call on one of them, but it was very disappointing. All we needed was like five yards on that last play in order to give [Matt] Prater a field goal attempt and we couldn't get that. It was a very disappointing finish to the game for sure."
Check out the grades for each Broncos player against the Patriots.
All quotes and injury/practice observations were obtained firsthand. Record information provided via email from the Denver Broncos.