Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft embrace before the start of the game at Gillette Stadium. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

Broncos Hump Day Hot Reads: Big Comeback Pushes Pats Past Broncos

The Denver Broncos dropped a hard fought game to the New England Patriots 34-31 in overtime. The Broncos jumped out to a 24-0 lead at half, capitalizing on three Patriots turnovers. After halftime, the Patriots mounted a huge comeback and took a 28-24 lead. The Patriots added a field goal and the Broncos scored a touchdown, which tied the game at the end of regulation. It looked like the NFL was headed for its second tie of the day until a miscommunication between Tony Carter and Wes Welker led to a fumbled punt that put the Patriots in field goal range for the eventual game-winning kick. Here is what I liked, what I didn’t like, and what’s next for the Broncos after their heart breaking loss at New England.

What I Liked

Big Games from Von Miller and Knowshon Moreno

Von Miller showed up big in the first half and was making an impact for the first time all season. Miller scooped up a fumble and returned it for the first touchdown of the game. He put a lot of pressure on Tom Brady in the first half, and he was a big reason the Broncos went into the half with a 24-0 lead. Miller finished the game with 8 tackles (6 solo), 2.0 sacks, a forced fumble, and a touchdown. This was the kind of performance the Broncos need on a consistent basis from Miller because the defense was playing very well when he was wreaking havoc on Brady.

Knowshon Moreno kept up his very impressive 2013 season by carrying the ball 37 times for 224 yards and a touchdown. Moreno ran very hard, like he has all season, and looked almost unstoppable against the Patriots defense. He took care of the ball and had by far the best game of his career Sunday night. He was the main source of offense Sunday night because of the Broncos relying on the run game and the passing game struggling. Moreno put up huge numbers on the ground and added an element to the offense that is usually lacking. If the Broncos want to reach the Super Bowl they will probably have to grind out a game with the rushing attack and if Moreno plays the way he did Sunday night they have a good chance to do that.

What I Didn’t Like

Second Half for Broncos

The Broncos opened up the second half with a 24-0 lead Sunday night but found themselves down in the 4th quarter. I did not like how the Broncos had a big lead on the road against a good team and let it slip away. The Patriots came roaring back after halftime and outscored the Broncos 31-7 in the second half and 21-0 in the 3rd quarter alone. Rookie Kayvon Webster was forced into action in the second half after Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie got hurt on the last play of the 1st half. Brady picked on Webster a lot in the 2nd half. Montee Ball also had a fumble that resulted in good field position for New England. The Broncos could not have played much better in the first half but could not have played much worse in the 2nd half. The Broncos need to do the things they did in the first half for the whole game to have success in the playoffs.

What’s Next

Broncos at Chiefs

The Broncos will head to Arrowhead this weekend to take on the Chiefs for the second time in a three week stretch. The second meeting of the year between these two teams has a lot of playoff implications as well as AFC West implications. Both teams sit at 9-2, with the Broncos loss at New England and the Chiefs on a two-game skid after losing to the Chargers Sunday. The winner of this game will take over first place in the AFC West and will be sitting as the number one seed in the AFC.

The Broncos and Chiefs kickoff at 2:25 MDT on Sunday.

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Tags: Denver Broncos Hump Day Hot Reads

  • Paul V. Suffriti

    I would not put much stock in the fact that the Broncos RBs ran for 280 yards against the Pats defense. A closer look puts things in perspective. All Pro NT Wilfork ( one of the best if not the best run stoppers in the league) out for the year (IR). Veteran DT Kelly out for the year and run stopper LB Mayo, out for the year. Their replacements are rookie DT Chris Jones, rookie DT Vellano, and rookie LB Jamie Collins. The Pats are ranked about 31st against the run because if this…..just saying.

    • anon76returns

      280 yards is 280 yards. It happens maybe 2-3 out of the 512 offensive efforts per season. The Patriots have fill in players- so what? Those are still NFL players, and the Pats have played those same guys against other teams, and never gave up 280 yards rushing. By the same token, the Broncos had a fill in secondary, but the Patriots didn’t pass for over 500 yards (a feat which happens about as often as a 280-yard rushing performance). The fact that a team with as prolific a passing attack as the Broncos can also run for 280 in a game is a big deal going forward.

      • Paul V. Suffriti

        150 yards in the air against the Pats is not prolific……but blowing a 24 point lead ( Denver being the #1 offense in the league) in the second half of the game is a historic collapse…..and by the way, we put up 254 yards rushing last year against your starters….not backups.

        • anon76returns

          A) Wilfork, Mayo, and Kelly are on IR- Jones, Vallano, and Collins are your starters. This is who your team is on defense, get used to it.

          B) Even with the 150 yard effort against the Pats, the Broncos have thrown for more yards in the opening 11 games than any other team in history, and one less TD than Pats’ record setting TD pace in 2007. If that is not a prolific passing attack, then there has never been a prolific passing attack.

          C) The Pats had a good game running against the Broncos last year. Peyton had a good game passing on the Pats, and the difference came down to a late Bronco turnover. Pretty meaningless argument, given that the Pats couldn’t sustain that sort of output throughout the season, and neither team could beat Baltimore in the playoffs (though the Broncos pushed them a lot harder).

  • bronncohowie

    Uh, “big comeback” ?? Guess the Broncos really didn’t tie the game up in the 4th qtr ? I thought I watched the game !