It was a cold and snowy night at Denver’s Mile High Field, and when it was over, the home team had a reason to celebrate. For the first time since Week 17 of last season, the New England Patriots are in the loss column. A 30-24 OT defeat at the hands of the Broncos officially ended New England’s bid for a perfect season. Fans across the NFL that despise Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the team as a whole are indubitably jumping for joy.
Tom Brady got his team off to a flying start when he found both Rob Gronkowski and former Buffalo Bill Scott Chandler for TDs in the first half. Ronnie Hillman ran for a 19 yd. TD for Denver to make it 14-7 at halftime.There was no scoring in the third, but 17 seconds into the fourth, Brady found Brandon Bolden for a 63 yarder that made it 21-7. A CJ Anderson rush for a TD and a Brandon McManus FG made it 21-17 and suddenly had the Patriots reeling. Then, back-up QB Brock Osweiler, starting in the place of the injured Peyton Manning, found Andre Caldwell for the score to make it 24-21. In the blink of an eye the Patriots had given up 17 unanswered points in a single quarter. Stephen Gostowski hit a FG to tie the game and send it to overtime, but it was very clear to everyone in attendance, Brady and his seemingly unflappable Patriots were rattled.
New England got the ball first in OT, but the Broncos D stepped up in a big way and forced Bill Belichick use send out the punting unit, something he hasn’t had to do many times this year. On the third down of Denver’s ensuing possession, CJ Anderson broke free to the left and ran in a 48 yarder to give the Broncos the W and the Patriots a stunning loss. It seemed as if Brady couldn’t run to the tunnel fast enough. To add insult to injury for New England, TE Rob Gronkowski was lost to a knee injury late in the fourth and did not return. His status has not been updated, but it can’t make the team feel much better.
When you think about it though, is the loss really that shocking? It took an overturned interception and touchdown for the Patriots to beat the Giants two weeks ago, and the team did not have an easy time against the Bills this past Monday either. The Patriots play has been declining over the past few weeks, it seemed as if the loss was imminent.
The win is a very encouraging sign for Denver. Peyton Manning is likely out for the rest of this season (and possibly his career), and if that’s the case, Brock Osweiler will be permanently at the team’s reigns. He is 2-0 since taking over, exactly what Coach Gary Kubiak needs.
With the loss for New England, the Carolina Panthers are now the only undefeated team left this season. the Patriots are now 10-1 while Denver improves to 9-2.
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