Broncos vs. Patriots: The 4 Biggest Stories of the First Half for Denver

Matt KingFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2011

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 18:  Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas #88 of the Denver Broncos catches a pass against the New England Patriots at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Riding a six-game winning streak, the Denver Broncos are facing their biggest test since Tim Tebow took over under center today, going up against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

Fighting for the playoffs, the Broncos came out of the gate quickly, taking a 16-7 lead, but mistakes and strong play by the Patriots led to Tebow and Co. trailing 27-16 heading into halftime.

Here are the biggest stories of the first half so far.

Rushing Dominance

The Broncos averaged 12.1 YPC on first two drives of the game as they racked up 133 yards. They eventually finished the first quarter with 167 yards, by far the most the Pats have given up in the first quarter under Bill Belichick.

Missed Opportunities

In a play that may come back to bite the Broncos in the butt later, a botched snap left the Broncos with only six points after their first scoring drive instead of seven. 

And Rahim Morris dropped an easy INT that went through his hands and hit him right in the face. The Pats eventually punted, but could have had great field position.

Then Lance Ball fumbled on the first play of Denver's drive after New England made the score 16-14. Then Tebow got hit and lost the ball on the very next drive.

And of course the fumble on the last play of the first half that gave the Pats another three points.

Tebow Succeeding Through the Air

He's 4/5 with 53 yards with a passer rating of 110.8. With all the success the Broncos have had on the ground, it has to be comforting to know that Tebow is getting it done in the air as well.

A Tale of Two Quarters

In the first quarter, the Broncos had the ball for 10:45. In the second quarter they had it for just 2:50.