The weather outside wasn’t frightful at all, but the 41-23 Denver Broncos loss suffered at the hands of the New England Patriots sure was.
Like any good sunset, like any batch of homemade fudge, like any great beach vacation, it had to end sometime. The Broncos six game winning streak came to an abrupt halt once they met the men of the northeast. The Cardiac Kid was down too late in the game and the Mile High miracles were put on hold at least for this week.
The headlines were endless going into it. The Chosen One vs. The Golden Boy, David vs. Goliath, faith vs. fury. In the end, the Broncos bucked themselves off their own horse.
The Broncos came out kicking, scoring 16 points within the first 16 minutes of the game, but a slew of second quarter turnovers turned their world around. When playing the Patriots, three turnovers doesn’t cut it. It doesn’t even begin to dig into it.
The Patriots showed what an offensive engine they are by gaining 451 total yard of offense. Tom Brady went 23-of-34 for 320 yards and 2 TDs. He added another TD using his legs. Brian Dawkins was clearly missing from the secondary as was anyone willing to make an open field tackle.
Aaron Hernandez took on the role of Rob Gronkowski this week and led the team in receiving with 9 catches for 129 yards and 1 TD. That’s how two rookie safeties and a rookie nickel will hinder your defense when playing a guy like Brady.
“I don’t want to blame it on any particular area or people, but all in all we hung with them physically,” John Fox said. “Just mentally, the turnovers were the big difference. You’re not going to be minus three against the New England Patriots and win very many ball games.”
John Fox has been in this league long enough to know.
“Our guys fought and we tried to get back into it. The reality is, we’re not at the stage where we can overcome minus three,” Fox said.
When you play against a guy like Brady, the only way to win is to not give him more opportunities to get back out on the field.
“He’s the best all-around quarterback I know,” Champ Bailey said after the game.
Tim Tebow had a solid game going 11-for-22 for 194 yards. He also added 93 yards on 12 carries and 2 rushing TDs, but his one fumble in the second quarter set the Broncos back too far for them to overcome it late in the game.
Tebow lead the team in rushing, but Willis McGahee had 70 yards on 7 carries and Lance Ball added 64 yards on 11 carries. The Broncos had 184 rushing yards by halftime, but that stat doesn’t matter because of the costly turnovers.
Demaryius Thomas had a monstrous game with 7 receptions for 116 yards, but it wasn’t enough to keep pace with the Patriots. That’s the thing about the Pats. If you can’t slow them defensively, they’re going to win.
It was a playoff-like atmosphere at Mile High with fans in their seats well before kickoff. The great thing about the game is it was a no-pressure game. The Broncos were two games up on the Raiders in the AFC West (the Raiders lost today). They still have room for error thanks to their six-game streak.
It would be a concern if the Broncos went 10-1 under Tebow heading into the playoffs. There’s such a thing as peaking to early and gaining momentum too soon.
“Every time there’s a set back, there’s more of an opportunity for a new step up to make something bigger and better,” Tebow said.
There are failures and then there are temporary setbacks. This game is of the latter.
“Sometimes set backs are set ups for bigger things to come,” Fox said.
From your lips to the Broncos ears, Coach.
Put the concerns and worries on hold Broncos Country. Remember, calm seas don’t make great sailors.